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June 20, 2012

The next hurdle: Women coaching men's teams

(Continued)

But the numbers tell only part of the transformative story.

Tamika Catchings, 33, is the reigning MVP of the WBNA. The all-star forward for the Indiana Fever is headed to London this summer with the U.S. women's basketball team for her third Olympic games.

Catchings learned to play basketball on the blacktop driveway outside her suburban Chicago home. Her teacher was her dad, former NBA player Harvey Catchings. When Tamika was in the third grade, he volunteered to coach for a local parks and recreation league; he put both of his daughters on the otherwise all-boys team. In seventh grade, Tamika told her parents she wanted to play in the NBA, so her dad coached her even harder.

"I loved that my dad wasn't going to take it easy on me because I was a girl," Catchings said. "I was the ultimate tomboy growing up. I thought I could do anything a boy could do – even better."

Catchings reveres Dunn and her college coach, Pat Summitt. Catchings was an all-American when she played for Summitt, the iconic Tennessee Volunteers coach who won more games than any other coach, man or woman, in NCAA college basketball history before stepping down this spring.

But Catchings' eyes are on a different prize: "I don't want to be a coach," she said. "I want to be a general manager."

‘Possibilities that never existed’

If you can see it, you can be it.

That's how Indiana Fever General Manager Kelly Krauskopf sees Catchings' dream.

Krauskopf, born 10 years before Title IX passed, grew up in south Texas playing basketball in her neighborhood. "My brother taught me how to shoot a jump shot," said Krauskopf, who won a college scholarship to Texas A&M when schools were still in the early stages of compliance.

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