One of the Owls’ first scholarship players when the Keene State program moved to Division II in the early 1980’s, Patricia Rauch Harper becomes the sixth women’s basketball player to be inducted into the KSC Alumni/Athletic Hall of Fame.
A standout high school player from Upper St. Clair Penn., who honed her skills at the famed five-star basketball camps around the Pittsburgh area, Rauch-Harper was the ideal player to usher the Owls into a new era.
“Patty was probably the first big-time player to come to KSC, “ said Chuck Sweeney, who coached Rauch-Harper for her first two seasons. “She came from a very competitive program and was someone who could step right in and make an immediate contribution to our building team.”
Rauch-Harper did waste any time doing just that. Although she would have an emergency appendectomy and suffer a broken hand early in her freshman season, Rauch Harper would go on to have one of the best careers of any Keene State player. Completing her career (1983-87) as the Owls all-time leading scorer at the time with 1,254 points, the sharp-shooting guard held as many as 12 KSC records upon her graduation.
“She was a very complete player, who set a great example for her teammates with her work ethic,” Sweeney said. “She would have been Keene State’s all-time scorer if they had the three-point shot at the time.”
Rauch-Harper saved her best for her senior season. Days after notching her 1,000th career points against Franklin Pierce, she scored a career-high 36 points against Southern Connecticut. Rauch-Harper completed the season averaging 18.9 points earning second-team All-NECC honors.
“I wouldn’t have trade it for the world,” said Ruach-Harper about her experience of playing at Keene State. “The only thing I wish we’ve done was go to a tournament. We were so close.”
That’s about the only thing Rauch-Harper didn’t experience during her four years at Keene State. A scholar-athlete, who also served as a residence assistance and member of a sorority, Rauch Harper wanted to make sure she got the most out of her college years.
“The whole point of college is to develop yourself into a well-rounded person,” she said. “I wanted to get everything out of the experience. Keene State made me a better person, a better mom, and a better manager down the road. And to me you couldn’t of asked for or gotten the support and encouragement in a more beautiful place.”
After receiving her degree in sports management in 1987, Rauch Harper worked for several years as a fitness director in the Boston area before returning to nursing school. She presently works as the coordinator of cardiac rehabilitation at the Orlando Regional Medical Center. Rauch-Harper resides in Ovideo, Fla, along with her husband Chuck and children Teddy and Grace.