Excuse me, are you Katie Heenan?
They always say, “When one door closes, another opens.” That could not have been more true Veteran’s Weekend of 2013. We had just opened the gym and were gearing up for our first competitive season. I was so excited to have Donna Kaye, Melinda and Velera all representing BIO on the optional team. Then, the phone call came that Melinda had hurt her knee. I was out of town and James seemed more concerned than usual. On Sunday, the family went to church. James loves to tell how he noticed that all of a sudden, Melinda sat straight up. She looked around, then started whispering to her sisters. Then she informed James that Katie Heenan just walked by. He let them go out to talk to her, but when he went to find them, they were in the corner whispering and she was on the other side of the breezeway.
“Excuse me, are you Katie Heenan?” James asked. “My daughters would like to meet you.”
“Yes,” she replied, holding her young daughter.
James went on to tell her how we owned a gym and if she ever wanted a job, to let us know.
We were blessed to be going through growing pains and racking our brains about who we knew that might want to coach. Remembering that James had met Katie back in November, I took to Facebook and sent her a message. After a couple of rounds of telephone tag, we connected. And that, was an understatement.
Katie was a graduate of Seton Home Study, the same curriculum that I was using for my own children. We had similar outlooks on pretty much everything! She was definitely interested in coaching and we set up an interview.
The rest, as they say, is history. Katie has been a member of the BIO family since January, 2014. She is an integral part of the staff and her family is our family.
Katie burst into the senior elite spotlight by coming in fourth in the all around and first on bars at U.S. Classic. At the U.S. National Championships, she continued her success by placing sixth in the all around and first on bars. Heenan earned a spot on the 2001 U.S. world championship team and helped the team earn a bronze medal, the first medal since 1995.
In 2004, she became the American Classic champion, won gold with her team and on bars at the Pacific Alliance Championships, and competed at the 2004 Olympic Trials. An injury during the trials prevented her from finishing, but she was asked to become the athlete representative at the final Olympic selection camp.
Katie received a full scholarship with the Georgia Gym Dogs and throughout her time at the university stood out as a great all around gymnast.
Katie won the 2005 SEC Championship all-around title as a freshman, making her the second Georgia gymnast with two SEC all-around titles. In 2007, Heenan was named Southeastern Conference Gymnast of the Year and made All-SEC first team. Heenan also tied for first in the all-around with follow Gym Dog Courtney Kupets at the SEC Championship. In 2008, Heenan received the Honda Award as the nation’s top collegiate gymnast.
We are so thrilled to have her working with the girls. Her knowledge, coupled with her faith and outgoing personality makes her a joy to be around and we are thankful she walked through the door that God left wide open!