By Esteban Ramirez
It has been over eight years for Katie McElree since she left her mark on the CSU Bakersfield women’s basketball team, but she still enjoys every experience she had as a student athlete.
“It was a great experience,” McElree said. “One of the reasons I chose Cal State was not only because I knew I would get playing time while I was there, but I liked the feeling of a small-feel campus.
“It’s not too big, and you can really interact with the students and the staff. It was kind of like a bigger high school in the sense that you knew everyone that was walking around.”
McElree played for the Roadrunners from 2002-2006 and finished with 1,798 points, which at the time was the most points by a women’s basketball player at CSUB.
McElree added that some of her fonder memories while at CSUB were the interactions she had, the dorm life, going to parties, playing basketball and just the association she had with all of athletics.
“My mother took all of my shirts that I ever had through the years at Cal State and high school, so any shirts from tournaments and games, and she made me a huge quilt,” she said. “It’s about 8×8 squared full of T-shirts, so I still have all of them from championships and things like that. I still have a ton of pictures and any plaques I have absolutely kept as well.”
She said that when she first broke the all-time scoring record she didn’t realize how great of an accomplishment it was until she got a chance to really think about it. Even though Tyonna Outland broke her record, she is happy that Outland was able to accomplish that great feat.
“When I heard that Tyonna broke it or was close to it, my first reaction was ‘oh man, dang it. I was trying to have that record forever,’” she said. “But at the same time, records are made to be broken. There’s always going to be someone that comes up, so you have to remember those people who did the same thing you did, worked their butt off to get where they were. I think it was absolutely fantastic that she was able to accomplish this.”
She graduated from CSUB in 2006 with a bachelor’s in communications. McElree works in pharmaceutical sales in Kirkland, Wash., but her initial plan after school was to be a sports sideline reporter for ESPN.
However, it was after a job with the Bakersfield Blitz in which she helped with advertisement that she found her calling in sales.
“It was a blessing in disguise,” she said. “At the time, I was just working and when they told me if you sell x amount of tickets, you are going to make x amount of money, and I was like game on.
“That carried me over to sales today and without having that experience I could be in a total different place right now.”
Now that she looks back she is honored of what her and the team did in the four years she was there.
“It’s kind of cool,” she said. “I think looking back now it’s great. It’s awesome.” She added that 45 years is impressive and that it means that CSUB is on the map. “That’s 45 years of building a university,” she said. That is growth, and that is proving that Cal State is on the map. “That means that people from all over the central valley that need an education don’t have to go to Los Angeles. They don’t have to go up north. They can go to Cal State, get a good education and can have all of the experiences of college. It’s growing, and I think that is phenomenal.”