Norwin grad jumps feet first into GCC girls soccer coaching job

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Wednesday, July 20, 2022 | 1:23 PM


Taking over a perennial power three weeks before official practice begins might seem daunting to most first-year soccer coaches.

Not to Kara Batey.

She was hired to coach the Greensburg Central Catholic girls rather late in the game, but she was eager to meet her players for the first time Thursday and begin to implement her system.

“A love a challenge,” the 25-year-old Norwin and IUP graduate said. “I am all about growth and learning. If I have down time, I don’t know what to do with myself. I am going to give this team my full effort.”

Batey replaces Olivia Kruger, who moved back to the eastern side of the state after her husband, Zak, was not retained as women’s soccer coach at Seton Hill. She was 34-3 in two seasons with one WPIAL title, a WPIAL runner-up and two PIAA runner-up finishes.

An exercise enthusiast who will make strength and conditioning a top priority for the Centurions, Batey was an assistant with the Penn-Trafford girls for three years (2019-21) while she was going to grad school.

It was at that time when she felt the magnetic pull to coach her own team.

“I was out of the sport a little bit after playing one year at IUP,” Batey said. “I was around so many great people who supported me and let me coach and valued my opinion. That’s where it sort of took off for me.”

Batey also coached with the Barbarian Futsal Club. One of her players, Alexia Graham, an incoming player at Greensburg Central Catholic who transferred from Penn-Trafford and played under Batey, told her about the coaching opening.

“I met a few of the girls,” Batey said. “(Graham) said (GCC) needed a coach. It was such a humbling thing for the girls to want me to coach them. I applied for the job and it worked out.”

When she played at Norwin, Batey said she loved the small details about practice and preparation, perhaps telltale signs coaching was in her future.

“We’re fired up about what she will bring to the program,” GCC athletic director Dan Mahoney said. “She was a great candidate.”

Batey, a kinesiologist who currently works as a cardiac technician in Oakmont, said she “found her voice” coaching at Penn-Trafford and with the club program and believes it will “transition well” into her new gig.

“I had so many opportunities playing and coaching with Barbarian club,” she said. “I wanted to give back. GCC has such a strong presence in the WPIAL and PIAA. I want to focus on training and recovery to make sure we stay there. There is a fine line between over-training and recovering. I don’t want these girls to leave the program hindered by nagging injuries.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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