Karen was born in Iowa and raised in rural Missouri where her family still resides.
She is a 1963 graduate of Morgan County RII High School in Versailles, Missouri. She completed her degree in Math and Physical Education at Concordia Teachers College in Seward, Nebraska in 1967. She competed in 4 sports (field hockey, basketball, softball, and track) while she was in attendance and received the Athlete of the Year Award in 66-67.
Karen was called to teach at Lutheran West High School in 67-68. She soon earned her Master’s Degree in Education at Kent State University and then attended additional classes at Cleveland State University.
In the late 60’s and early 70’s, she started and coached the women’s sport’s programs at LHSW. She spent several years building the women’s sport programs as assistant athletic director and as a coach in each one of them for several years. (Basketball – 1967, Track -1968, Cross Country -1969, Volleyball and Softball-1972). She served on the board for women’s athletics as an officer in the Greater Cleveland area for several years while women’s sports were in their infancy.
Basketball became her first love and she gradually gave up coaching the other sports because of the time commitment that basketball demands.
During her 41 year career as coach of the basketball team, her teams have won 21 Conference Championships, (conference play for girls began in 1972) 22 Sectional Championships, 7 District Championships, and 1 Regional Championship. They were State Runners-up in 1976. Her current overall record is 657-198.
Karen also spent 25 years officiating basketball and 38 years officiating volleyball. During this time she served the Lutheran Elementary League in her area for 35 years as the Girl’s Athletic Coordinator as well as directing the Lutheran High School Girls Basketball camps for 3rd to 12th graders in the area for 25 years.
She has been honored to coach for the Ohio North-South All-Star Game in 1998, to coach for Greater Cleveland Basketball Coaches Association East-West All-Star Game for 2 years and was chosen as Ohio Coach of the Year for 4 years and received Coach of the Year in her conferences for 21 years. Karen also coached Track and Field for 25 years and coached the men’s golf team for 14 years while starting the women’s golf team at West
Some of her other honors and awards include receiving the Wegman Outstanding Teacher Award from the Cleveland Lutheran High School Association, the Cleveland SMACO Award (Basketball),the Bob Arnzen Award, the National Outstanding Coach of the Year Award given by the National Women’s Sports Foundation, the Northeast District Naismith Basketball Service Award, the Outstanding Basketball Coach and Sportsmanship Award given by GCBCA, inductee into the inaugural class of the Lutheran West High School Athletic Hall of Fame, inductee into the Women’s Basketball Magazine Hall of Fame (OHIO), inductee into the Concordia University Sports Hall of Fame in Seward, Nebraska, and inductee into the inaugural class of the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
In 2009, the Lutheran West gymnasium was dedicated to Karen “The Rock”. It was named “The Rock” because Karen has always attributed the success of her teams to her Rock of Salvation-the Lord Jesus Christ. Her desire was to help all players see the importance of Jesus Christ in their lives.
Karen retired from teaching at Lutheran West in 2012 after 45 years of teaching math and Physical Education. Presently, Karen is on the on the board of directors of the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame. She stays active working out at the YMCA, biking, camping, fishing, gardening and golfing and substituting at Lutheran West. She enjoys playing in the Senior Olympics and has qualified for the National Senior Olympics in Shot put, discus, Badminton and Pickleball. Her family (3 brothers and their families) lives in Missouri and she loves traveling to see them. She is especially grateful for all the great kids that she has coached and taught as they have touched her life in many positive ways.