She led her Bears to Ivy hockey titles before becoming a three-time Olympic medalist. Yet if Katie King had never played hockey, she would still be considered one of Brown's greatest athletes.
If Katie King had never played a moment of hockey, chances are she would have been profiled here just the same. In addition to being a three-time Olympic medal winner in hockey and three-time Ivy League women's player of the year, she was 1996 Ivy League softball Player of the Year and 1997 Pitcher of the Year.
In her senior year, her Brown softball team won the Ivy championship and went on to the NCAAs. This remains her most memorable sports experience at Brown. She says, "It was great because it was unexpected. We were not expected to succeed in softball as we were in hockey. We had to win two games against Princeton in our final Ivy League weekend. They hadn't lost a doubleheader to another Ivy team in four years."
Sports were always a big part of King's life. "I started playing hockey when I was four years old," she said. "When I was little, sports defined me. I played soccer, baseball, hockey, basketball, anything and everything."
King's early sports career is also notable because she played both hockey and baseball on boys' teams until well into middle school. After she switched from baseball to softball, she became a phenomenal high school pitcher, compiling a 44-0 record with six perfect games and leading her team to four state titles.
When it was time to pick a college, King says, "I knew that I wanted to play both hockey and softball and get a great education. So a lot of schools weren't in the running when I made that decision. Digit Murphy recruited me (for hockey) and that was when I first really heard about Brown specifically."
At Brown, King, even playing two sports, reports little trouble balancing athletics and academics stating "I actually did better in school when it was during the seasons. It forced me to do my work so I could play sports." She did have to give up her goal of majoring in elementary education, though. She would have had to do a significant amount of work at nearby Wheaton College, and the commuting did not mesh with her sports schedule.
Both of her coaches were positive influences on her life. King is especially grateful that softball coach Deb Sofaro did not try to prevent her from participating in both sports. King admits, "It took a lot away from the softball off-season, but she overlooked that. As for Digit Murphy, she was just there for me, pushing me, always being the motivator."
Brown's strong hockey teams played to two Ivy League championships during King's years there and as a result she met quite a number of her teammates again later. She recalls, "I have some teammates who played against me in the Olympics, in Becky Kellar, Chie Chie Sakuma, but then also had a Team USA teammate in Tara Mounsey.
After graduating in 1997, King played in her first Olympics in 1998. She tied three other players for the overall scoring lead and scored a hat trick to beat Japan. In this, her most memorable Olympics, she won a gold medal.
In the 2002 Olympics, King brought home silver. Then, in 2006, she participated in her third Olympic Games while assistant women's hockey coach at Boston College. She scored a hat trick in the final game to secure the Bronze medal for the U.S. King has been on the U.S. World team six times.
Recently, King has become acting head coach at Boston College, which bodes well for her long term goal of being the head coach of a Division I program.
King remembers how she first found out about the Ivy League. She was playing hockey when she was around 13. A college coach saw her on the ice and talked to the parents that were standing near the rink. According to King, he told them "If your daughter has the opportunity to go to the Ivy League, then she should. I remember that very clearly and I know my parents do too."
From a hockey standpoint this was clearly good advice, since Ivy players dominated women's hockey at the last Olympics with 20 Ivy players participating in Torino. It worked out well from a personal standpoint too, "I loved Brown," King said. "I had a great time there, met great people and received a great education."
— Suzanne Eschenbach