Katherine Harry watched as Doug Bruno ran practice. She observed as her former head coach taught the distinct screening and cutting that makes up DePaul’s offense.
She couldn’t help but think of her playing days.
“Watching him teach the younger girls, it takes me back to my freshman year when alongside Anna Martin when we were learning with the sophomores and the rest of the younger kids in the program, “ Harry said.
Harry, however, is now watching from a different capacity. At 24 years old, Harry joined Bruno’s staff as DePaul’s video coordinator.
After playing under Bruno from 2009 to 2013, Harry is making the transition from her playing days with the goal of breaking into coaching. Becoming a video coordinator is often considered the first step, and it’s a task that Harry is adjusting to.
“As a student athlete, you don’t see a lot of the hard work that goes into it,” Harry said. “You just show up for practice and games, expecting everything runs smoothly behind the scenes. It’s been really eye-opening being on the other side, especially within the same program. It’s been an adjustment. I don’t think I expected quite the workload.
“Being thrown full into it, I’ve had a great support staff,” she said. “They’ve all been really helpful. It hasn’t been an easy road, but it’s worth it because of where you want to end up.”
As a video coordinator, Harry is tasked with recording practice, preparing footage for the coaching staff and always being ready to assemble miscellaneous video clips — ranging from plays during practice to preparing clips for recruits.
Harry made the change after playing two years overseas in Greece and Italy. Her playing career, though, came to an end when she suffered a herniated disk. Having been plagued by chronic back pain throughout her career, Harry chose to retire rather than have back surgery.
With her playing days suddenly over, Harry moved back in with her parents in her hometown of Columbia, Missouri. Still wanting to be involved in the game, Harry reached out to her high school coach Jill Nagel to see if she could be a volunteer assistant. Nagel welcomed her back to Rock Bridge high school in December 2014 with open arms.
“She did awesome,” Nagel said. “You could tell she loved it. And she loved it for the right reasons … because of the kids. She developed a great repertoire with them.”
Harry said she enjoyed her experience as a volunteer and it led her to reach out to Bruno for advice on how to break into college coaching. And in March 2015, Bruno happened to have a vacancy for his video coordinator and asked her if she would be interested in filling the role.
“Learning video is one of the keys, something that all new coaches have to know,” Bruno said. “It’s an entry level and gets you in the door … I always believe in hiring your own if they’re available.”
Bruno said Harry found out quickly the heavy amount of work involved. He said that she could work as many as 80 hours per week. He said, though, that Harry has the qualities to become a head coach down the line.
“The first thing is you have to be service oriented for your team, and I’ve always thought Katherine has been a really selfless person regarding her team,” Bruno said. “Service comes natural for her … She’s a really smart basketball player. She was a really smart player for us.”
Harry is the only player in DePaul womens basketball’s history to have more than 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 150 blocks. At 6-foot-3, Harry was a force in the middle and enjoyed four trips to the NCAA tournament, including being on the first DePaul team to ever make the Sweet Sixteen.
Harry, in fact, played with four current Blue Demons: Megan Podkowa, Chanise Jenkins, Brooke Schulte and Brandi Harvey-Carr. She said she’s enjoyed watching their progress as she has learned the ins-and-outs of being a video coordinator.
Harry said she has had to learn the time management to balance the job.
“There’s always so many things going on,” she said. “You have to remember to do this thing and this thing and this thing. You have to make everybody happy and are trying to get the job done to the best of your ability.”
But while she grows in her role, Harry said she has made sure to observe the qualities that have made Bruno successful for more than 30 years. She knows it can pay off down the road.
“He’s a very demanding coach, and that’s not a negative thing at all,” Harry said. “He really wants the most out of everyone, which I can attest because when I was here, he demanded the most out of me while I was here. I would have never been who I am if he didn’t help me grow as a player and as a person.”