Katie Bam was burnt out. Seventy minutes wasn't enough time for the Maryland field hockey team to defeat North Carolina in the national championship game Nov. 21, 2010. Neither was an overtime period.
When coach Missy Meharg called a timeout at the start of the second overtime, she felt Bam, who carried the last name O'Donnell at the time, would be unable to contribute because of fatigue. Bam told the veteran coach she didn't have any energy left, something she'd never said in her four years in College Park. She walked past her teammates and coaches to the end of the bench.
Bam had won three consecutive ACC Offensive Player of the Year Awards. She would later win a fourth after her senior season. So Meharg told her she had to return. The program's seventh national championship was on the line.
Bam sprinted onto the field after the timeout. About 40 seconds later, she possessed the ball and drove into Maryland's offensive zone. Megan Frazer wound up with the ball, and in the 98th minute deposited it into the net to secure the title..
Now an attack-minded assistant coach on Maryland's staff, Bam has emerged as the latest Meharg disciple to earn a collegiate coaching opportunity. As one of the most decorated athletes in Terps history, Bam has transformed the team's offense, increasing its average goals per game since last year despite a young roster.
Her title-winning contribution serves as one instance of her perseverance, which has inspired Maryland to overcome a slow start this season.
"She really was wondering if she could do it, and I had so much respect for what I saw in her eyes and she just did it," Meharg said. "Her trust and belief at that time in leadership — that's why she's such a great coach today. She understands what that trust is about."