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This gay golf coach helped one of her own captains come out

Katherine Mowat lives an open life at Ball State, serving as the LGBTQ role model for her players that she lacked.

Katherine Mowat has coached at Ball State since 2004, and been out for most of her tenure.
Screenshot via Eli Houser, DN

Liz Kim was an 18-year-old kid who didn’t think about her sexuality. Then she read about her new coach, Katherine Mowat, whose bio page prominently mentions her wife and two daughters.

Kim is now a graduate golfer and co-captain for the Ball State women’s golf team. She’s also fully out to her family and friends, thanks to coach.

Ball State Daily writer Maya Wilkins recently profiled Mowat and the support she’s received from her Ball State family since publicly coming out. A former collegiate golfer herself, Mowat didn’t realize she was a lesbian until college. She spent the next few years slowly coming out to members of her family, but her athletes were still in the dark.

They knew she lived with her now-wife, Mandy Harrison, who’s also Ball State’s associate strength and conditioning coach, but not much else. Then one of Mowat’s players asked her to define her relationship.

It was the opening she needed.

“I thanked her because, since that day, there’s really been no going back,” Mowat told Ball State Daily. “They’ve just always known and understood it’s just who I am. We’re a family, and I’m the same coach as I was before they knew.”

Mowat, a Louisville graduate, became head coach of the Ball State women’s golf team in 2004. She’s enjoyed an incredible amount of success over the last 17 years, coaching 58 Women’s Golf Coaches Association All-American scholar selections and twice being named Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year.

But none of those accomplishments are more significant than the baby shower the athletics department held for her daughter, Maya. The generous gesture finally allowed Mowat and Harrison to be more open with their co-workers, and thus, Mowat’s golfers.

“I think a lot of my colleagues knew we were in a relationship, but it wasn’t actually declared or spoken until we said, ‘We want to share something with you: we’re having a baby,’” Mowat said. “Every action that was taken as a result of us bringing our first child into the world and celebrating us and our family was certainly very special and meaningful.”

Without strong LGBTQ role models growing up, Mowat thought being gay was taboo. Like so many others, that belief instilled unnecessary fear in her about coming out.

Nowadays, Mowat is focused on being a strong presence on campus, and serving as an example for other LGBTQ kids who may need one — just like Kim.

When Kim came to Ball State in 2017, she didn’t know how she would be received. Knowing that Mowat was by her side provided her with the strength to come out.

“My team, they’re like my biggest allies,” she said. “They’re just so supportive, and it’s never been anything weird or different.”

There are many out coaches across the NCAA, all of whom lead in their own ways. It’s great to help players grow athletically. But it’s even sweeter to help them grow as people.

Read the full story here.