40 in 40 - Katie Markey
Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Title IX, wmubroncos.com takes a look at 40 key moments/females in the history of women's athletics at Western Michigan University. Though the selection process, an effort was made to highlight a moment and player/coach from each of our current women's sports programs, as well pay respect to our women's legacy sports. A different feature will be released each of the 40 days, July 24 through Sept. 1.
Women's Soccer: 1996-99
WMU Athletic Hall of Fame: 2012
Troy Athens High School in Troy, Mich., has consistently been known for producing quality women's soccer players. In 1995 Katie Markey, now Katie Grisley, graduated from Troy Athens and had pledged her collegiate soccer career to Western Michigan University. The only thing was Markey had committed before the team existed and before a head coach was in place.
"I was the first player to sign," said Markey. "It was like going it blind. I knew Western Michigan was taking the program seriously and looking at the players they signed after me, I was excited."
Kate O'Shaughnessy was tapped to lead the Broncos into their first season in 1996. With the coach and full squad in place Markey and the Brown & Gold helped launch the women's soccer program. Along with Markey, the Broncos had a strong nucleus in place to launch the program with Jennifer Haller in net, Denise Mayer locking down the back line, Kristen Oakleaf up top with Jenna Schlee and Shelley Mayer in the midfield along with Markey.
The team went 11-7-1 in its first year of existence. Markey helped lead the way tying for the team-lead in points with 19 on five goals and a team-high nine assists. Because it was the first season the Broncos did not factor in to the Mid-American Conference standings and were ineligible for post-season play.
In their second season, and first eligible season in the MAC, the Broncos finished tied for second in the conference standings with a 4-2-1 record, 9-8-2 overall. Markey was at the top of the points list for the Broncos with 24 on nine goals and six assists. She averaged 1.26 points per game that season and was named First Team All-MAC while helping WMU to the MAC Tournament Semifinals.
The Broncos struggled a little adjusting to a new head coach and saw a dip with a 6-10-2 record in 1998 but Markey was once again named First Team All-MAC after tallying 14 points in just 16 games played. She finished off her career with another First Team All-MAC selection her senior season.
Starting off the program she set every scoring record imaginable for the team. Her 23 career goals stood until the 2011 season when Stephanie Skowneski tallied her 24th and 25th to break the record. Her nine goals in her sophomore season remains a program record as does her career-point total of 68.
But it wasn't all about records and on the field success for Markey, who now owns a business in Utah. Playing collegiate soccer gave her the tools to succeed after her playing career ended.
"I think it builds character," Markey said when asked about the benefits of playing sports. "Looking back now that I can reflect on it, I think it builds self-confidence for women. It has helped me in my professional career, attaining leadership skills that have helped progress my professional and personal life. It is a great opportunity for women out there."
Markey, who lives in Utah with her husband and daughter, will be returning to Western Michigan in October when she becomes the first former student-athlete from the WMU women's soccer program to be inducted in the Western Michigan Athletics Hall of Fame.