Merrill girls basketball team manager celebrates 25 years with the team

Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 7:10 PM CST
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MERRILL, Wis. (WSAW) - Players and coaches have come and gone through the Merrill girls basketball program. But one person stays consistent.

“She definitely has our morale up anytime that she’s in the gym,” said head basketball coach Adam Smith.

“You always are smiling around her and she always makes you happy,” said Courtney Krueger, a senior player for the Blue Jays. “Even when you’re down, you can’t be sad around Kate”

For 25 years, Kate Knott’s been right there rooting on the Blue Jays.

“I look forward to practice every day,” Knott said.

As the team’s head manager, she’s a constant presence.

“She has like a flair and always has a comment to say about everything,” said senior basketball player Claire Drew.

“Being with them is just having like a fun time,” Knott said. It was clear a smile was under her mask.

Jokes are always being made.

“She’s secretly hilarious,” Drew said.

“They like when I’m actually funny,” Knott said in response to the team telling her she’s funny.

Pregame speeches are mandatory and always the best.

“So she comes out there, says her points, and just makes us all smile and laugh and gets us pumped up,” Krueger said.

“And then at the end of every speech, she says, “Now let’s go win this thing,” And she puts her hand in the middle,” Drew added

ADAM SMITH/HEAD BASKETBALL COACH “I really think that pumps them up more than any speech I could give,” Smith said about the speeches

And 25 years has extended through 5 different coaches. Knott’s been steady.

“That’s dedication right there. I was talking with you before, that’s more years than our coaching staff, 6 members of our coaching staff combined,” Smith said. The coaching staff has a combined 11 years of experience.

“25 makes it more great and it’s a lot of fun that I can get to do that,” Knott said.

And for this team, she hopes it’s more.

“This team is very special,” She said.

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