Marin Academy’s Mama Bear

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Marin Academy’s Mama Bear

Kacie Schilling's family are each others biggest supporters and it shows when they are there to support her at every basketball game.

Kacie Schilling's family are each others biggest supporters and it shows when they are there to support her at every basketball game.

Kacie Schilling's family are each others biggest supporters and it shows when they are there to support her at every basketball game.

Kacie Schilling's family are each others biggest supporters and it shows when they are there to support her at every basketball game.

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I don’t remember the time I first met Kacie. All I remember is that my sister wouldn’t shut up about her and now I know for good reason. Kacie is the type of person that people are drawn to. She’s incredibly dedicated, compassionate, and sassy, which has earned her quite the reputation both at MA and in the basketball community.

Kacie was born and raised in Marin County and has played basketball for much of her life. During her high school years, Kacie’s experience with basketball was really awful. Having a coach that was not supportive and brought down the team was detrimental to the team dynamic. The lessons she learned from her experience with her coach has shaped her coaching philosophy today. When I asked Kacie why she continued playing this sport she loved even though she had such an awful experience, she responded with: “I think it was my love for the game. Not letting one person control what I put in so much work for my whole life. Not letting him dictate where it put me and giving him the power.” Kacie does not give up on herself or on her teammates.

Kacie with a few girls who went through the women’s basketball program and are now permanently a part of her family.

Someone in this situation would have quit, and let a bad experience ruin their love for the sport, but Kacie had an opposite approach, “One of my goals [was] I knew I wanted to coach; I knew I wanted to be in athletics; I wanted to make sure that I have an impact on the kid’s lives and that they won’t have the same experience that I had.” Just hearing this, you would know that Kacie is all in for her girls. She is willing to do whatever it takes for them to succeed and have a good experience. 

As a teenage girl graduating high school, Kacie searched for a future at college full of fun and friends. Like any Marin kid, Kacie was ready to leave boring Marinwood, “I wanted to go to a big school. I wanted to go to a big school and have a good time because I was a kid growing up in Marin. I wanted to party and have a good time.” At the time she did not plan on playing basketball in college, but the sport always seemed to find her. After watching her future husband at multiple Whittier football games, she was recruited to play on the Whittier Women’s Basketball team where she was reunited with her love for the sport and was sure that her future would include it.  

After continuing her basketball career at Whittier, Kacie and Paul found themselves back in Marin County, “Knowing that I had the support coming back home, it’s not cheap to live in Marin, but it’s worth it for the family for me.”

Kacie and one of her many Marin Academy children, not surprisingly, fooling around at practice.

Ask any player that’s played for Kacie about their MA basketball experience and they’ll tell you one thing: their teammates are their best friends and the team is their family. Many of the girls refer to Kacie as their on-campus mom, the person they can turn to when they need a laugh, advice, or to rant. She is constantly there for them no matter what and encourages a close bond between the players and herself.

During practice, Kacie can often be spotted on the court, playing with the girls, or coaching them from the sidelines. The sense of family that Kacie instills on and off the court is only furthered by her own family. Kacie talks about her team as if they were her family, “They are my kids, I tell them that all the time. I am a mama bear. When someone goes after you I will fight them to the end. They are my kids before I had kids.”

Kacie and her husband Paul have been dating since high school and have two kids, Jackson and Aubrey. Her kids frequently come to practice and Paul never misses a game. In many ways, Kacie’s family begins to feel like the team’s family as well.

Kacie has the biggest heart, even if it might not seem like it when she’s yelling at you to return your jersey or coaching you from the sideline. She fosters a love of basketball and an emphasis on closeness in her team and has shaped many of her players into who they are today. Without Kacie, the MA athletic department would not run as smoothly as it does; Kacie’s impact at MA is one that cannot and should not be ignored rather, it should be cherished.

Kacie with her two children, Aubrey, and Jackson, who will soon become part of the Marin Academy family.

Although much of what an MA student experiences with Kacie is her love for basketball and her commitment to all student-athletes, she is much more than that. Many people would not know this, but Kacie is a certified Zumba instructor and she loves to be outdoors, whether it is camping, being at a lake or being in the mountains, and of course spending as much time with her kids and family that she can.