Growing up, Mary K. Knechtges loved playing sports with her older brothers. She learned a lot from them, but didn’t receive any formal training until junior high school. Girls weren’t really supposed to be into sports at that time, so she thought her gym teacher was the coolest for both being in the field and encouraging her. Ms. Knechtges admired the teacher so much that it inspired her to follow in her footsteps. She proceeded to earn a Bachelor of Science from Bowling Green State University in 1967 and land a job as a physical education, health, and English educator at L’Anse Creuse High School that same year. She also completed postgraduate coursework at Wayne State University between 1968 and 1970.
When Ms. Knechtges got to L’Anse Creuse High School, however, they didn’t have any sports for girls. She took over cheerleading since she really wanted to coach, and then she went ahead and started a girls’ basketball team. The other sports grew from there. During her tenure at the school, she served as a basketball coach, cheerleading coach, and softball coach. Ms. Knechtges also coached basketball at Bishop Gallagher High School and was an assistant basketball coach at the University of Michigan. Although she officially retired in 2003, she remains involved as a girls’ basketball and softball score keeper at L’Anse Creuse High School.
Over the years, Ms. Knechtges earned many accolades for her achievements. She was named to the Midview High School Athletic Hall of Fame, the Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame, and the Macomb County Coaches Hall of Fame, and was nominated for the Sportswoman of the Year Award from United Foundation. She was also honored as the District 4 Coach of the Year by National High School Coaches, as the Michigan Coach of the Year by the Detroit Free Press, and as the Coach of the Year by Macomb County Coaches. Despite all of this, however, her proudest moment was when her basketball team won the Class B Michigan State Championship in 1978. Notably, when she retired, the gymnasium floor was renamed the “Coach K. Court.”
When Ms. Knechtges has free time, she enjoys swimming and walking.