The Woodlands Christian Academy
Kate Maddock is home again.
Maddock, a former star player at The Woodlands High and four-year starting catcher at Houston Baptist University, is back in north Houston to lead The Woodlands Christian Academy's softball program. Maddock, 30, spent last year as an assistant varsity softball coach and athletic operations coordinator at Bishop Lynch High in Dallas.
TWCA is Maddock's first head coaching job.
"It's exciting because this is home for me," Maddock said. "I know all the street names. I don't get lost. Of course, it will be a challenge, as anything that is new is. But I do have a level of comfort in that I grew up here. I played at the YMCA, on tournament teams, at The Woodlands High School, and played college softball close to here. I've played the same fields and parks and I know the softball world here."
Maddock succeeds Richard Perez, who led Warriors softball over the last six years.
Maddock was a three-year varsity letterman at The Woodlands High, where she graduated in 2009, and earned a scholarship to play at HBU. She started 173 games for the Huskies and was an All-Great West Conference first team selection in 2011.
Maddock taught private lessons and did some spot coaching before going to Bishop Lynch, where she learned the administrative end of coaching while working under the athletic director. She led her junior varsity softball team to an undefeated season.
Maddock wasn't looking to leave Bishop Lynch, but when she was contacted about the TWCA opening, she was intrigued. Ultimately, it was an offer she couldn't pass up.
"When I came down to visit, I was blown away," she said. "It really gives you that urge in your heart when you know something is for you. It was hard to leave somewhere I loved, but I'm a week in and can already tell I'm joining an established family here. I feel so welcomed and supported."
Maddock has a hands-on coaching style. Because she played, she knows what it is like to be an athlete and what it takes to be successful. She understands pressure in-game situations, the recruiting process and the dynamics of player-parent relationships.
She said she will emphasize building trust and confidence in her athletes and offer a supportive, loving environment like the one she grew up and thrived in as a high school standout.
"Part of the reason why I wanted to get into coaching is because they have a unique insight into their players' lives, and helping them develop in new ways," Maddock said. "It comes down to heart, caring for the game, caring for teammates and caring more about being a team player than individual player. Individual success comes after you put the team first."
Maddock is excited about her "huge" learning curve but is focused on the day-to-day tasks of an opportunity that can seem like destiny.
"I don't want to make this any bigger than what it is," she said. "I'm going to focus on small goals and the small things, so I don't freak out when I consider, oh, this is really big. For me, it's about breaking things down to the basics and figuring out what's important for that particular day. I know I just want to connect with the girls, love on them big time, and teach them something new each day."
After winning three state championships, with Final Four appearances in seven of eight seasons, as head boys soccer coach of St. Thomas Episcopal, Chris White was ready for something different.
So, when The Woodlands Christian Academy athletic director Randy Hollas phoned White, 35, to inquire about the Warriors' boys soccer head coach opening, White jumped at the chance.
"I've always had an eye on it," White said. "Growing up, when it came to soccer, the two places I always heard of were Kingwood and The Woodlands. A breeding ground for athletes of all kinds, and soccer is one of the main sports. When they first built the turf field, they lined it for soccer. Since then, I've paid attention.
"When they called me up, it was a no-brainer."
White had grown complacent in downtown Houston. He felt he'd done all he could do at St. Thomas Episcopal, where he won 144 of 175 games in eight years. He desired a greater challenge and a move closer to his home in Spring.
He found all of that at TWCA.
"The program being so young, going into its third year, is exciting," White said. "I can create a culture change from the get-go and build something special. Being in the Final Four and making the playoffs last year, they've been successful, but this will be an opportunity to really prove that I know what I'm doing. I can tweak it and make it my own."
White was born in England, but his family moved to Houston in 1994 because of his father's career in the oil and gas industry. He attended Northeast Christian Academy in Kingwood. He went to the University of Texas at Tyler and St. Edward's University before settling at the University of Houston. A torn ACL derailed hopes of a collegiate soccer playing career, but White did play club soccer at UH.
White plans to employ a possession-based style of play, getting opponents out of position and looking to attack once they are. However, he adapts his philosophies to the talent of his roster. For instance, White used to be a defensive-minded coach at St. Thomas Episcopal before the type of talent he had forced him to reconsider his ways.
White also has established strong relationships with many of the club teams around the Houston area.
He's also familiar with the TWCA talent, such as junior midfielder Kyle Jasek (11 goals and 13 assists in 2021) and sophomore goalkeeper Bruno Bobato. White's St. Thomas Episcopal team played TWCA in the Final Four two years ago.
"The good thing about TWCA is they have athletes," White said. "A lot of it has to do with their strength and conditioning program. You can teach an athlete how to be a soccer player. You can't teach a non-athlete how to be an athlete. It's a school that wins multiple championships, and it's going to be fun and a challenging time for me."