Throughout Keene State College's rich athletic history, a handful of individuals have left their indelible mark on the program and helped paved the way for what is today a strong and healthy athletic department. A member of that select group, Dr. Kay Saucier has worn many hats during her distinguished career at Keene State: teacher, coach, student administrator, and athletic coordinator. Tonight she adds one more title to that list: Hall of Fame inductee.
Call it good timing or just fate, Kay Sander's return to Keene State in the fall of 1969 ushered in a new athletic era at the College. A record-setting basketball player from Biddeford, Maine, who earned her degree from KSC in 1964, Saucier as a student had been very frustrated with the limited "extramural" athletic program available to women at the lime. Now she was in a position to do something about it.
Long before the implementation of Title IX, Saucier with the encouragement of her fellow coaches and the Keene State administration helped add the words "varsity" and "intercollegiate" to the Owl women's athletic program. "I absolutely take a good deal of pride in that accomplishment," Saucier said. "The coaches had a vision of a women's program. We were breaking new ground."
But Saucier wanted more than just a program. She wanted a winning program. The coach of Keenc State's first varsity women's basketball team, Saucier had a team that possessed an equal desire to play at a high level. "I wouldn't have coached otherwise," said Saucier, whose team accumulated 21 wins in its first two seasons and qualified for post-season play. "It was important that we pursued excellence without losing sight of educational values," she said.
Always stressing these values to her players throughout her coaching career. Saucier also found time to pursue her educational goals over the years, earning advanced degrees from Springfield College and Boston University.
Although increasing scholarship funds by KSC opponents gradually overcame the advantage of her well-coached Owl teams, Saucier still managed to complete her coaching career with an impressive win-loss record - the best winning percentage (.790) by any Keene State basketball coach.
Turning her attention to her teaching pursuits, Saucier also spent five years working as women's athletic coordinator, handling scheduling and promoting several Owl teams that would make a name for themselves in regional and national tournaments.
A member of the College's physical education staff since 1969, Saucier has taught a gamut of classes, ranging from teacher's prep to coaching to sports psychology. She was also instrumental in coordinating a very successful sports administration program that has placed students in a variety of career-enhancing internship positions. "Although I missed coaching, I tried to bring that same excitement into the classroom," said Saucier.
Drawing inspiration from her mother, Ida Saucier, and gaining the support of her colleagues and several KSC administrators including Keith King, the former chairman of the physical education department, and Dr. Richard Gustafson, the former vice-president for academic affairs, Kay Saucier certainly lived up to a personal motto that has guided her throughout her career.
"Looking for a goal is not enough," she said. "You have to strive to get the best out of yourself," she said, "it was a unique time and a period of tremendous change and if you look at where we are today we were obviously successful."