Caryn MacKenzie is a leader, mentor, teacher and coach of soccer. With her time on the courts and the courts, she has been breaking glass ceilings for decades. She coached soccer at Adams and Riley High Schools and at Saint Mary’s College.
After 20 years of head training for college girls and numerous conference championships, Caryn retired from the high school coaching ranks in 2019 as Conference Coach of the Year. Along the way, Caryn was an influence at the Stanley Clark School. She continues to coach college girls and is the school’s sports director. She is the director of the SB World Cup football day camp, which is now in its 40th year.
But let’s come back to this precursor theme. She did it again when she was named to the Indiana Soccer Coaching Hall of Fame this month. She is the first woman to receive this honor.
Caryn was surprised when she got the call about the lobby. She said honor is a way to influence young women. “Seeing 400 people at the ceremony, girls and their parents, is inspiring. I had to catch my breath ”with the crowd present.
Her pioneering days go back to junior high when she wanted to play basketball and there was no women’s team in her hometown of Illinois. It was the first days of Title IX. His father, John, influenced the all-male school board that it was the law of the land. She tried and she was on the team.
John was a college football coach, so he knew the talent.
It wasn’t that easy. “I changed in the janitor’s cupboards or in the guest rooms. There were no changing rooms. I warmed up on my own. The gyms were packed (to see me). I was a novelty. People screamed and told me to come home. It didn’t matter to me. In eighth grade, I was voted MVP, ”she said.
In a few years, there were more girls on the teams, then they had their own team.
She played basketball and volleyball until high school. At the University of Quincy, she received scholarships in softball and basketball. While there, she was brought in to try football as a club sport. In his senior year, football was a college sport.
With graduation in 1984, Caryn said, there were no jobs for physical education teachers and coaches. Thanks to friends and other coaches, she interviewed for the Stanley Clark School. “Jim tallman hired me. Without him, I wouldn’t have a job in teaching. Everyone needs a Jim Tallman in their life.
Jim was the athletic director of SCS and is now the director of alumni engagement.
Caryn began coaching at Adams through connections in the summer football program. Later, there was a stint at Riley, then back at Adams. Then it was Sainte-Marie. Then back to Adams for six years. Then it was time to take the time to smell the roses. It was right before the pandemic, and the timing turned out to be perfect.
The term “pioneer” is used when friends and gamers talk about Caryn.
Former student of Sainte Marie Laura Heline said Caryn was motivating. “She wanted you to have fun and enjoy the game. She told us to leave worries in the parking lot when we walked to practice. It is the enthusiasm that has rubbed off.
Laura, who is now the head athletic trainer at the University of Southern Indiana at Evansville, continued that the team heard about Caryn’s journey in the sport and realized it was an experience shared with all. the players.
Former Saint Mary’s athletic director Lynn kachmarik is proud of her former trainer. “She’s a rock star. She has knowledge and energy. I called her to train at Saint Mary’s and met her.
It took several more visits to Stanley Clark to get Caryn on board. “She turned the program into everything it could be. She changed the culture. It inspires coaches and players. Caryn is a hidden gem.
Jim Tallman said Caryn has a great relationship with the students and has a respect for the coaches. “His teams have always been well trained. She is the best. She has a wonderful passion for training. She is a great role model. “
For Caryn, coaching is a profession. “You have to love sport. Love the children. Meet them where they are. Understand them. Stay in the know. “
And it is better than to be a pioneer. It’s a thing to do for Caryn.
Contact Kathy Borlik at [email protected]