UNK Athletic Hall of Fame: Mary Iten

Coach Iten and Dr. Lackey both were trying to get me to come to Kearney and at that time I said, “Nope, I’m done with track, I’ve been running since I was a second grader competitively And I’m just done. I’m really to get married, I want to marry my high school sweetheart.” And so Coach Iten really
took a chance with me. She knew what I was capable of and she just pushed you to be a better person and a better athlete, a better student. She’s a competitor you
know she always wanted the best out of this and she would do whatever she needed to do to
help us to get to that spot. She made it fun too, but when she was serious about something, you knew it. She was kind of a firecracker in that way. She actually has a really
good sense if humor and I enjoy her personality because whatever she’s thinking, you know. I remember the first time I went to the indoor nationals in Kansas City, and she told us, “Now don’t look like a bunch of hicks from the sticks, you know, go in there with
confidence and don’t be kind of you know, looking around acting like you don’t belong there.” She’s very determined when she
sets her mind to something. She’s going to pursue it but she’s also very caring. I mean, she not only
wanted to know you as an athlete but she wanted to know your family and you know, she would always talk to my family when
they’d some to meets. Just a real personable person and coach and I just felt like I
was care for there by her, And the team you know, we
were just kind of a family. There was one particular time that I really remember that
because she had always treated me really great,
I was having a lot of success and I had made it to nationals and she’s like “Carrie, we’re gonna have you run on a couple relays.” And I said, “Why would
I run on any relays? I’m already going to nationals.” And she said, “You’re going to run on a couple relays to help the team, the rest of the team, get to nationals.” And in my mind I was like, “Ugh, what? You know, this is an individual sport.” It is not an individual sport. She cared about the rest of the girls and that’s when I really realized she was about “we” mentality,
she was about the whole team. We were one unit and when one did well, the whole team did well. When I think of Kearney State or UNK, she’s on of the first
people that come to mind. I mean, I think she
bleeds blue and yellow. I mean honestly, she’s passionate about her classes, she’s passionate about her students, she’s passionate
about her athletes. And then once she quit
coaching it didn’t change. She still was a person
that supports UNK 100% and is always there to cheer
whatever team it is, on. Congrats coach, I’m
really proud of you and you’re well deserving of this honor. No one is more deserving of being in the hall of fame than you do. Congratulations.

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