Katie Krall (left). Krall is a development coach for the Portland Sea Dogs, a Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.
The growth in participation and investment in women’s sports since the 1972 passage of Title IX has propelled many women to take on leadership roles in the professional world.
In spite of institutional barriers in the world of sports recruiting and promoting, many Northwestern women alums have gone on to have highly successful careers in coaching and sports business.
Here are a few of Northwestern’s most well-known alumni in the sports and business worlds.
Karen Stack Umlauf
When Stack Umlauf was a student-athlete at NU, her mother encouraged her to go into speech and language pathology. But a year playing basketball abroad confirmed Stack Umlauf’s passion for the sports world and kicked off a long-term career with the Chicago Bulls beginning in 1984 — coinciding with Michael Jordan’s rookie season.
“They were becoming so popular,” Stack Umlauf said. “I got in at the right time, and was able to build from there.”
She spent over 30 years with the Bulls, including three as their first female assistant coach in franchise history. It was initially overwhelming to take on the role, she said. Even after decades in the basketball world, she found herself “bombarded” with new vocabulary and concepts every day.
Stack Umlauf said the experience also taught her about the risky nature of coaching. She was on staff just a few years before the Bulls’ current coach Billy Donovan arrived and replaced her and several other assistants.
Now the director of operations for NU women’s basketball, Stack Umlauf continues to embrace her love of the sports world.
“It doesn’t feel like work when you get to come to work (dressed) like this,” Umlauf said, wearing joggers and an athletic jacket. “It’s pretty cool.”
Browne enrolled at NU in 1982 — just a decade after the passage of Title IX — and quickly emerged as one of college basketball’s brightest stars. A dynamic offensive threat, Browne earned multiple All-America and Big Ten honors during her time in Evanston. She finished her career as the Big Ten’s leading scorer and ranks seventh in NCAA history in career scoring average.
Browne has since taken on leadership roles in several organizations, including the NCAA, IBM and UNICEF. In one of her most prominent positions, she served as the NCAA’s vice president of women’s basketball, in which she worked to develop the Division I, II and III women’s basketball championships.
Browne also worked for the New York Knicks but was fired in 2006 after bringing complaints about workplace sexual harassment to management. Following her departure, she sued Madison Square Garden and then-Knicks coach Isiah Thomas regarding the harassment. Browne won in a landmark victory.
By the time Munday graduated in 2006, she had accomplished feats that placed her as a contender for not only Northwestern’s greatest lacrosse player, but also one of the best collegiate players in history.
With two NCAA championship wins and plethora of national awards and program records, Munday continued to stick with the sport, working as an assistant coach at NU for four years and head coach at Mount St. Mary’s University for one year.
Munday now coaches at USC, where she was hired at the age of 26 to lead the university’s first-ever women’s lacrosse team in 2011.
Since then, she has accumulated several coach of the year awards, five NCAA Tournament appearances and the honor of being named Lacrosse Magazine’s 2013 Person of the Year.
A development coach for the Portland Sea Dogs –– the Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox –– Krall is not your typical baseball coach.
Having held various analytical jobs at the MLB, Cincinnati Reds and Google all before the age of 25, Krall has already proved herself as a trailblazer in the world of sports.
“Being a woman in a male-dominated industry, there are two burdens that you carry,” Krall said. “The first is to do your job and do it well. And then the second is, especially if you’re in a high visibility role like coaching or if you’re a front office executive, you are a role model for other young women and the embodiment of what is possible for them.”
This past June, not only did Krall earn her MBA from the University of Chicago, but she was also featured on the cover of a Sports Illustrated issue commemorating 50 years of Title IX. Krall was pictured with Red Sox coach Bianca Smith who, along with Krall, made the Red Sox the first MLB organization with two female coaches.
It was particularly powerful for Krall, whose mother was a tennis player and an immediate beneficiary of Title IX. Krall’s mother had competed for her high school’s first ever women’s tennis team as a junior.
“She and I both cried when we saw that I was on the cover because of Title IX and what it’s done for both of us,” Krall said.
Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]
— Mother-daughter athletic duo reflect on Northwestern and impact of Title IX
— ‘Compete and win’: Former Northwestern women’s sports figures discuss the early years of Title IX
—Q&A: Former Northwestern tennis player, USTA chair Katrina Adams talks Title IX and NU athletics