GREAT FALLS — The Great Falls Voyagers baseball team is making history this season in the Pioneer League without even having played a single game yet.
Meet Kate Sisler. The former college soccer player, who finished her career as an Argo at the University of Providence last season, is now an assistant coach with the Voyagers helping with everything from batting practice to eventually coaching from first base on game days. She is the first female coach to ever appear in the Pioneer League.
“She’s very energetic, she wants to learn, she wants to teach and the guys have accepted her as one of the family and she is,” manager Tommy Thompson said.
Being put in the position of assistant coach and player operations in a sport she’s never played before undoubtedly is a little nerve-wracking, but she’s be no stranger to the team. Sisler worked there last season as the clubhouse manager, getting to know the ins and outs of the day-to-day work as well as getting to know the players.
“Working with the team last year helped a lot,” Sisler explained. “Knowing the group of guys we had coming back and the new kids we have coming in definitely helps make it a lot more comfortable.”
In the last few weeks of practice, Thompson, who is no stranger to overseeing a clubhouse with his professional experience as a player and coach, has seen firsthand how positively the team has responded to her new role and how she has embraced the challenge of coaching young men.
“She gets along. She gets a little tough and let’s them know a few things. I appreciate that and I kind of like that but she’s been great. She’s been great with our pitching coach, myself; I think the players respect her at an early start,” he said.
In her role, Sisler is making history with every second on the baseball diamond but it’s not her story that she wants told, it’s the trend of more women earning their place in sports that sits atop her priorities.
“You always want to be the first like I always wanted to be the next Becky Hammon but to me, I’m here and doing what I love and the fact that women in sports all over the place are getting their chance is something that means more to me than being a first,” Sisler said.
Sisler's official coaching debut happens in their season opener May 25 at Centene Stadium versus the Northern Colorado Owlz.