It was either fate or just plain good luck that one of Kate Mullen’s playground instructors played college basketball and she was able to get hooked into the sport at an early age. As a young girl, Mullen’s parents instilled important traits of hard work and self-discipline in Kate and her coaches built on those natural talents throughout high school and college. They helped mold Kate into the successful athlete and coach she is today.
A 1974 graduate of Enfield High School, Kate was a successful three-sport athlete playing field hockey, basketball and softball. She was co-captain for each sport in her senior year and her teams qualified for the state tournament each season. Mullen played all three sports at Central Connecticut State University for four years. In basketball, she began as a forward, finished out her career as a point guard and helped her team qualify for the AIAW Regional Tournament in three of her four years at Central (before women joined the NCAA). In her senior year she was co-captain for field hockey and basketball and she received the Gail Rutz Award (Female Scholar-Athlete Award) and the Medal of Merit Award for Academic Achievement.
Soon after graduating, Mullen took on the Head Women’s Basketball coaching position at Westfield State College for four years while teaching in the Enfield School system. She moved to Elms College from 1985-1992 serving as Associate Athletics Director and Head Women’s Basketball Coach. While she worked at Elms, she completed her Masters of Physical Education at Springfield College, graduating in 1992. Shortly afterwards, she was hired and is currently an adjunct professor of physical education at Wesleyan University and she has served as Head Women’s Basketball Coach ever since. She is also an Associate Athletics Director at Wesleyan and she has found much success there in the past 19 years. In her 28 seasons at the collegiate coaching level, Mullen has recorded 334 victories, which places her 38th among active Division III coaches and second in the NESCAC. Mullen was recognized for her coaching talents in 2002-2003 when she was honored as the New England Small College Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.
Kate Mullen is a member of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and has served on the State Farm Coaches’ All-American Team Committee since 2006. She was inducted in the Enfield Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007 and the CCSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010. She has had the opportunity to travel with her teams to Ireland, Florida, Arizona and California and she has had many great memories with her teams.
The 2004-05 and 2005-06 campaigns were the most memorable, with a 22-5 record in 2005 and an NCAA bid. Her team made it to the Sweet Sixteen that season and in the next season made it into the NCAA’s again, finishing with an 18-8 record. She hopes to continue coaching for as long as possible because it has fostered her love of learning and teaching. She credits high school field hockey and basketball coach Kathleen “Cookie” Bromage for fueling her love of competition and with 43 years of high school coaching under her belt, Cookie still serves as one of Kate’s biggest role models! Additionally, Kate considers her college basketball coach, Brenda Reilly, as very influential in her decision to become a college basketball coach.