Maryville Names New Sports Info Director
Maryville’s new sports information director, KatieJo Kuhens, is already at work churning out press releases, developing gameday programs and media guides, posting stories to Maryville’s Web site and gathering sports statistics.
“I don’t have much spare time, but I like to be busy,” she said. “It keeps me organized and happy – I really don’t like to be bored.”
That would have been an easy guess, given the past few years of Kuhens’ accomplishments. Most recently, she worked as an athletic communications intern at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, a Division I school.
“I handled five varsity sports and assisted with a sixth one,” she said. As part of the job, she traveled with the women’s softball team during weekend tournaments.
Kuhens graduated in 2007 from Wartburg College in Waverly, IA, with dual undergraduate degrees in communication arts (emphasis in public relations) and business administration (emphasis in marketing). She also earned a minor through the college’s leadership certification program.
As a student, Kuhens worked for three years in Wartburg’s sports information department. She applied initially to be a volleyball statistician, but did so well they soon handed her the rest of the sports line-up and made her the student assistant for her final two years at Wartburg.
“Talk about how answering a want-ad can change your life,” she said. “I had first planned to become a social studies teacher, then a broadcaster, but shortly after beginning in sports information, I fell in love with the job.”
While there, Kuhens had the opportunity to work in the media room coordinating interviews and the flow of information during the 2005 Men’s and Women’s NCAA Division III Championship Outdoor Track and Field Meet, hosted by Wartburg College.
“The Wartburg women ended up winning the NCAA title in the final race of the meet and I was the first person to get the official results. It was quite a thrill,” she said.
She also handled media for the 2008 Women’s NCAA Division III National Golf Championship which Wartburg hosted, as well as the 2008 NCAA Division I Volleyball Regionals (akin to a ‘Sweet 16’ bracket) while interning at UW-Madison.
“I have always loved sports,” Kuhens said. “My parents have told me that I memorized and sang ‘Wave Your Homer Hanky’ (a song that the Minneapolis Star Tribune sponsored during the Minnesota Twins’ 1987 World Series run) every day when I was two.”
Kuhens, a die-hard Minnesota Twins fan, learned to play catch from her mother when she was three, started playing T-ball when she was five, and played baseball and softball through her sophomore year in high school.
“I can still remember the day that I learned about the game of baseball,” Kuhens said. “I was about three years old and my mom was out running errands. My dad and I were supposed to be keeping the laundry going.”
Instead of folding clothes, they became engrossed in the Twins game televised that afternoon.
“Needless to say, the laundry fell by the wayside,” she recalled. “My dad taught me the rules – balls, strikes, outs in an inning – while we snacked on Chicken in a Biscuit crackers. My mom wasn’t too happy to find the laundry not finished when she returned.”
Kuhens’ childhood also included the St. Paul Saints, a semi-professional baseball team.
“A few big names came through this organization,” she said. “Red Sox player (and former Cardinals fielder) JD Drew got his start here, female pitcher Ila Borders played a few seasons, and Jack Morris played for a season.”
Though she loves to keep track of successes on the field – or court, as the case may be – sports information is not all about the sport or the stats, Kuhens said.
“I enjoy seeing the student athletes succeed both on and off the field,” she said. “At Wartburg, as it is here at Maryville, the importance of academics is heavily emphasized.”
In those rare instances when Kuhens has spare time, she enjoys scrapbooking. As a lifetime Girl Scout, she also loves being active outdoors.
“It’s just not summer without a camp out and cooking outdoors,” she said.
Having only recently moved to St. Louis, Kuhens’ is pleased that several “Wartburgers” (fellow alums from Iowa) live in town. She is looking forward to better weather.
“Madison set a record for snow fall last winter – over 100 inches,” she said.
In the meantime, she’s revving up the sports information desk at Maryville.
“I’m a huge sports nut. The fact that I get paid to do what I love is just amazing,” she said.