Following Catchings’ lead

As the Indiana Fever’s president and general manager, Kelly Krauskopf has watched the entirety of Tamika Catchings’ WNBA career. Krauskopf has witnessed the most change in terms of Catchings’ leadership.

“Initially, she sort of shied away from the leadership role,” Krauskopf said. “She just wanted to play. The next phase was holding teammates accountable and having an expectation for them.”

Catchings remembered coming to the University of Tennessee as a freshman and following the lead of veteran players Chamique Holdsclaw and Kellie Jolly. She didn’t have that luxury with the Fever. After missing her first season in 2001 while recovering from a knee injury, she debuted essentially as the team’s star player. The distinction conferred more responsibility.

“I’ve had to learn how to be a leader, not just by example but by being vocal,” Catchings said.

Her non-basketball pursuits have helped in this regard. She has her own foundation and has been in great demand for speaking engagements and public appearances. Children benefit from her foundation’s mentoring mission. Audiences want to hear what she has to say.

“The correlation is there,” she said. “In every aspect, that’s what’s expected of me. At the end of the day, people expect me to lead.”