New Detroit coach Kate Achter moving closer to home

J. Patrick Eaken

University of Detroit Mercy Director of Athletics Robert C. Vowels, Jr. has announced that former collegiate standout and coaching veteran Kate Achter (Clay/Bowling Green State University) will be the 14th women’s basketball head coach in school history. 

Achter was an All-American student-athlete at Bowling Green and has coached at Loyola Chicago, St. Bonaventure and Xavier. 

“Kate Achter quickly rose as our top candidate based on her accomplishments and success as a coach and student-athlete,” said Vowels. “She has a great vision for the program, a great work ethic, highly acclaimed communication skills, and is proficient in building a team, both on and off the court.”

Achter said, “I’d like to thank Robert Vowels, Teri Kromrei, the search committee and Dr. Garibaldi for entrusting me to be the next leader of the Detroit Women’s basketball program. Throughout this process, it was evident how special the campus and community are. There is an immense amount of pride in the Titan family that made me feel welcomed and immediately at home. I cannot wait to get to work!” 

Achter spent the last six seasons as head coach of fellow Jesuit institution Loyola Chicago, where she guided a program from 2-28 in her first season to 18-12 last year, the most wins by the Ramblers since the 1988-89 season. In her six seasons, Loyola Chicago improved its overall win and conference victory total in five campaigns, with its 10-8 mark last year good for fifth in the Missouri Valley Conference. 

Under her guidance, the Ramblers collected 13 All-Conference accolades, including five All-Freshman Team selections, four All-League picks and one Freshman of the Year recipient. The team GPA also grew from a 2.4 to a 3.5 in her six seasons. 

“It is a pleasure to welcome coach Achter to Detroit Mercy. She is a proven winner who not only understands our Jesuit and Mercy mission well but also the high academic expectations we have for our student-athletes,” said University of Detroit Mercy President Antoine Garibaldi.

She was one of the youngest coaches in the country when she took over Loyola Chicago. Achter had to deal with a roster turnaround that included just three returning letterwinners and moved the win total to seven wins in her second season, 13 in her third and a winning record of 15-14 in her fourth year, just the third winning season by the program since 1988-89, where the Ramblers also earned their first-ever postseason berth in the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI). 

Prior to her arrival at Loyola Chicago, she was an assistant coach and the team’s recruiting coordinator at Xavier during the 2015-16 season. In that one season, she helped the program to a 17-13 overall record and aided in the development of Briana Glover, who was named an All-BIG EAST Conference selection.

Before that, she was an assistant coach and associate head coach at St. Bonaventure, helping the program to three postseason berths, highlighted by a trip to the Sweet 16 in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. St. Bonaventure posted three seasons of 20 or more wins during her tenure, including a school-record 31 wins in 2011-12, and that season, the Bonnies also won their first-ever Atlantic 10 regular-season title. 

In her coaching history, she has seen student-athletes receive 21 All-Conference selections, one Freshman of the Year and one Sixth Women of the Year accolades. 

“She has experienced a tremendous amount of success as a head coach, assistant coach, and student-athlete and I look forward to seeing her build this program to championship standards,” said Vowels. “I would like to thank the search committee for their hard work in identifying some great candidates and ultimately coming together and deciding that coach Achter is the best person to lead our program.”


Northwest Ohio success story

A 2008 graduate of Bowling Green and a member of the 2018 Hall-Of-Fame class, Achter was a driving force as the Falcons captured four straight Mid-American Conference (MAC) titles and made three appearances in the NCAA Tournament during her playing career, highlighted by a Sweet 16 berth in 2007, the deepest run a MAC team has ever made. 

In her time as a student-athlete, the Falcons were 108-23 during her career, including 57-7 in the MAC. She was a three-time All-MAC selection, a three-time MAC All-Tournament Team member and a MAC Tournament MVP. 

The All-American point guard finished her career ranked fifth on the school’s all-time scoring list (1,580) and as the Falcons’ all-time leader in both assists (688) and free throws made (551). 

"My time at Bowling Green was defined as much by the winning as it was by the teamwork and togetherness of our program,” Achter said. "The unwavering support of the BGSU fan base made us one of the toughest teams to compete against in the country; and they gave us the confidence to compete at our highest level every night. This would not be possible without their dedication.”

Following graduation, she played professionally for one season with Palaio Faliro in Athens, Greece, before returning to her alma mater as a graduate assistant with its strength and conditioning staff.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education from BGSU in 2009 and her Master of Education in 2010. 

A 2004 Clay graduate who played under her father, then-coach Roger Achter, she has talked to The Press on several occasions about how she turned the Loyola program around.

“I was a first-year head coach, with 10 players who had no Division I experience,” recalled Achter, 33. “We returned two players, and combined we returned 78 total points from the previous year. I didn’t have any freshmen. We got three junior college transfers who didn’t come from a high-level junior college, and we honored the scholarships the previous staff had (offered). We had three junior college players we knew nothing about. We allowed one player to come back to the team that the previous staff had kicked off the team.”

Achter said she takes her coaching role beyond the basketball court, too, mentioning the women she coached at Loyola.

“I have a very, very strong group of bright, young women. I have two pre-med students, I have two exercise science students, I have three MBAs, and I just had a junior tell me she is going to take the LSAT (law school admission) this summer. I have surrounded myself with people who are entirely smarter than I am,” Achter said with some sarcasm,” Achter said while the keynote speaker at the Clay High Alumni and Friends Association’s distinguished alumni and hall of fame banquet.

“One of my challenges when I lead these young women is to try and unite them,” Achter continued. “And, when I first approached this job, which was difficult in itself, I really set three kinds of key areas that I wanted to focus on and those areas didn’t necessarily have anything to do with basketball, although, we do a lot of basketball. We run ball-screen offense, we run transition, we like middle ball screens, we teach ball screen defense, jam, switch, run, trot, underneath — all those things. That is my job,” Achter continued.

(— includes file contributions by Press Sports Editor J. Patrick Eaken and contributing writer Mark Griffin)




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