How this 1980s St. Edward star got connected to the top-ranked South Carolina women's team
Having good connections in the sports world can many times provide one with lucrative dividends.
Just ask Maureen Mueller Kremer.
Kremer, a Bartlett native and 1988 St. Edward High School graduate, never expected when she played four years of college basketball at Bradley to 30 years later have a direct tie to the best women's college program in the country.
But through all the travels of life since 1992, that's what Kremer has, as her coach at Bradley, Lisa Boyer, is now the associate head coach under Dawn Staley at South Carolina, which enters this week's NCAA tournament undefeated and as the odds-on favorite to win its second-straight NCAA championship.
"I've really enjoyed staying in touch with Coach Boyer after graduation as she was a second mom to my teammates and I for four years at Bradley," Kremer said. "She truly cared about us as people, not just players. She helped me get into a competitive program at the U.S. Air Force upon graduation, and I'll never forget that."
Kremer, whose parents, Dr. Bob and Peg Mueller, still live in Bartlett, played on three St. Edward teams that made state tournament appearances. The Green Wave won the Class A state title in 1985, then finished third in 1986 and second in 1988. They lost in the Sweet Sixteen in 1987.
She is now president of Katermeg Services Corp., a company that plans, designs, builds and markets high-quality websites. Kremer studied dietetics at Bradley and has a Master of Science degree from Nebraska. She is married to Bradley Kremer, a pilot for American Airlines, and they now live in Colleyville, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, which is where the NCAA Women's Final Four will be played March 31 and April 2.
The Kremers have five children, including daughter Erin, a senior at South Carolina who graduated from St. Edward in 2019 and will work for the government in Washington upon graduation.
Starting to see the connections?
In addition to Erin, the Kremer kids include Kate, a 2016 St. Edward grad and 2020 Carthage College grad who is now working in Fort Worth, Texas; Megan, a 2017 St. Edward graduate and 2021 Marquette University grad who is working in Chicago; and Matt and Julia, both attending high school in Grapevine, Texas.
Maureen Kremer kept close tabs on Boyer's coaching career long before Boyer ended up at South Carolina in 2008.
"After leaving Bradley, I followed her career as a coach in the ABL (American Basketball League), as the WNBA had not been formed yet," Kremer said. "She was actually the first assistant coach in the NBA (Cleveland Cavaliers) and also coached in the Olympics.
"I've especially enjoyed her coaching at the University of South Carolina since my daughter has been there the past four years."
In addition to South Carolina duties, Boyer has served as a scout/court coach for USA Basketball during Staley's tenure as the Women's National Team head coach. She first joined the process during the team's 2017 training camp in Santa Barbara, California, and was part of the contingent that helped the U.S. to gold medals in the 2018 FIBA World Cup and 2019 and FIBA AmeriCup tournaments. Boyer was with the team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where the U.S. brought home a gold medal, its seventh straight in Olympic action.
And, that connection with Boyer has led Kremer to get to know Staley as well.
"I've gotten to know Dawn and the players through Lisa, which has been an absolute joy," Kremer said. "I really don't know her as well as Lisa, but from all the short conversations we've had, she is a sincere, caring, hilarious woman. She's as good with the Xs & Os of basketball as she is in drawing on the best from her players. As with Lisa, she cares immensely about her players and helps set them up for success long-term."
"Those SC ladies are really something special, on and off the court. I try to bring my famous chocolate chip pumpkin bread for the coaches and team to enjoy when I'm able to visit."
Kremer said she's seen four games this season at South Carolina -- Gamecocks' wins over Arkansas, Florida, Alabama and Georgia.
"But I plan to attend several NCAA tournament games and, of course, the Final Four, which is in my backyard."
The moral of the story? Hang on to your connections early in life, as you never know where they'll end up taking you.
• John Radtke can be reached at email@example.com.
Suburbanites in the tourneysMEN
Name High school College
Kam Craft Buffalo Grove/ Xavier The Skill Factory
Conor Enright Mundelein Drake
Malik Hall Metea Valley/ Sunrise Christian Michigan St.
Chris Harris Lake Forest Acad. SE Missouri St. (Antioch native)
*Braden Huff Glenbard West Gonzaga
Nick Martinelli Glenbrook South Northwestern
Drew Peterson Libertyville USC
Caden Pierce Glenbard West Princeton
Max Scharnowski Wheaton Academy Alabama
Ben VanderWal Timothy Christian Furman
Paxton Warden Glenbard West Illinois
Name High school College
Sarah Cernugel Hinsdale Central Notre Dame
Taylor Charles Burlington Central Princeton
*Angela Dugalic Maine West UCLA
Kenzie Hare Naperville North Marquette
Greta Kampschroeder Naperville North Michigan
Alyssa Geary Nazareth Indiana (Elmhurst native)
* Injured/out for season