New girls basketball coach Karen Karatkiewicz seeks to bring her storied success to FHC


After its 2022 winter season, the girls varsity basketball team faced an enormous challenge. Throughout the spring and summer, they have been without a coach. This was especially difficult for the girls because the off-season is a crucial time for team development. However, despite this long period, Forest Hills Central has now found itself a new girls basketball coach: Karen Karatkiewicz.

Athletic Director Jonathan Goei says that the process of finding coaches in today’s day and age can be extremely difficult as the demand is higher than the supply. He is very pleased that we were able to land coach Karatkiewicz.

“Coach K has the kind of energy this program is going to need,” Goei explained. “We’re looking to build on both of our mens and womens basketball programs by adding youth programs. That takes a lot of time and energy. Coach K has the type of energy and drive to help make that happen. She’s a basketball junkie. She loves the game, she studies the game, she loves to talk about basketball and she’s always looking for ways to improve. Which is exactly what we need for this program right now.”

Coach K, as she likes to be called, has over 25 years of experience, including being an assistant varsity coach at Forest Hills Northern, and a JV coach at both FHN and Greenville, where she had a combined record of 49-4. She has had great success at these other schools, and she is incredibly excited and motivated to bring her success to the lady Rangers basketball program.

“It brings me great joy to combine my passion for basketball, a wide array of life lessons, and 25+ years’ career experience to mentor and coach young women,” she said. “As a dynamic leader and role model, I take tremendous responsibility for helping my players reach their full potential on the court and in life.”

After being hired in late August, Coach K wasted no time. She wanted to get to know the girls on her team as quickly as possible. She began to fill her schedule with four-man workouts, open gyms, and a fall basketball league. Missing out on player development during the spring and summer was a major deficit, but the fall is even more important. On top of preparing her team for the season, these workouts and open gyms allow her to build relationships with her players.

“In addition to being critically important for skill development, these opportunities have also allowed me to meet many of the girls and start building relationships,” coach said. “The four-player workouts are especially nice because of the smaller group size and the conversation flows a little easier. I’ve gotten a pretty good jump on getting to know many girls in the program, and I will continue building on that heading into the season.”

Sometimes, there is skepticism about whether a new coach is going to fit in right away at a new school. For the coach, it is difficult to know if you are doing too much or not doing enough to get your team ready. For coach K, it seems like she knows exactly what she is doing, and she is fitting in perfectly here in Ranger country.

Addyson Cousins, a junior on the basketball team at FHC, has had the privilege to get to know coach K through open gyms and four-man workouts. During the offseason, she patiently awaited information about who the new coach would be. After about a month now with coach K, she could not be happier.

“She really cares about making us better and working with each player individually,” Cousins said. “She also is super nice.”

Coaching can be extremely difficult and exhausting at times, which is why coach K is not going into this alone. Basketball runs in the family, and she is bringing on her youngest son, Evan, as an assistant coach. Evan has a very rich basketball history. He has coached for two years at FHN and was a three-year starter at Catholic Central High School during his high school days. Evan and his mom have a very special connection and have enjoyed coaching together previously.

When asked about coaching with his mother, Evan had this to say: “I love coaching with my mom. I think it makes it easier to coach because we are so close. We are always on the same page!” He also mentioned that it feels extra special knowing that his mom is on the bench coaching alongside him.

On top of coaching basketball, coach K has experience in other fields too. She currently has a full-time job as the director of marketing and communications for Progressive AE, a full-service architecture and engineering design and consulting firm. She has worked for Progressive AE for the past eight years and before that, she was a strategic marketing director at Spectrum Health. She has worked in the marketing and communications field for 25+ years where she has had the opportunity to hone her technical abilities as well as develop critical leadership skills and build high-performing teams.

There is no doubt that coach K is the right woman for the job, and Ranger country is extremely excited and grateful to have her. Fortunately, it seems that she is just excited to be here as FHC is to have her.

“After meeting with the athletic director and hearing his vision for athletics, I was 100% convinced that FHC was the place I wanted to be,” Coach K exclaimed. “Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming, and I treasure the sense of community. It already feels like home.”