One of Kathy Lindsey's fondest childhood memories is of spending Saturday mornings with her father, Jack Gordon, at a sporting goods store in Hamilton. She would rummage through the equipment, looking for basketballs to dribble and assorted balls to bounce against walls as her father chatted with the grown-ups.
Lindsey wasn't aware of it then, but she was being indoctrinated into the family business. Gordon was an assistant football coach at Hamilton and would later lead the football program at Middletown, a position that would play a particular role in Lindsey's future endeavors.
Lindsey, who recently retired after coaching girls basketball at Hilliard Bradley and Davidson high schools, would gain notice for her play in that sport before it was sanctioned by the Ohio High School Athletic Association. She would go on to play at Ohio State and serve as an assistant coach at Purdue and with the Buckeyes before becoming the head coach at Illinois.
"We would go to Clark's Sporting Goods every Saturday, and I didn't realize it then, but (my father) was exchanging game films for the next week," Lindsey said. "I always looked forward to that time, and it's probably why I got into athletics the way I did."
Lindsey would compile a career record of 431-303 as a college and high school head coach. She was 381-216 at the prep level.
Just like the trips to the local sporting goods store, family was a common thread for Lindsey in both sports and coaching.
Gordon became the head coach at Middletown in 1964, going 116-59-1 before retiring after the 1982 season. Lindsey would be there with her younger brother, John, when her father was developing the Middies' plan for the next game.
"My dad's office at the old Middletown High School was just off the gym," she said. "He would break down film and I would get the basketball and shoot. My dad would teach me how to shoot, and my brother would stay in the office and draw. (John) ended up being an architect and I became a coach. Looking back, I figure that was a chance to give mom (Mary Kay) a break because she was a stay-at-home mom. And that's how I learned to shoot baskets."
Lindsey caught the eye of an Ohio State coach when she was playing in high school, only it was quarterbacks coach John Mummey, who was there to scout one of her father's players.
"My dad said if (Mummey) wanted to talk to him, he had to go to my game because it was at 4 (p.m.) and he didn't want to miss it," she said. "After the game, (Mummey) said I should think about playing college basketball. I didn't even know they had such a thing. I looked into it and decided to go to OSU over Kentucky because I was more of a Buckeyes fan."
Lindsey, a 1974 Middletown graduate, played in high school before OHSAA sanctioning of girls basketball started with the 1975-76 season and began playing at Ohio State before Title IX gender equity in college sports started with that school year. Women's basketball was governed by the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women and wouldn't become an NCAA sanctioned sport until 1982.
"We didn't play at St. John Arena when I started at Ohio State; we played on the top floor of Pomerene Hall (the women's student union)," said Lindsey, a two-time letterwinner and a captain in her senior season. "I was just a student who played basketball and then I was a scholarship athlete when Title IX started.
"Before Title IX, they had been using grad assistants as head coaches, so I never thought much about (college) coaching. I majored in math because I figured I would be a high school coach and it's easier to get a teaching position in math than in (physical education). That was like the beginning of things."
Lindsey started teaching math and coaching girls basketball and girls tennis in 1978 at Oxford Talawanda, where she stayed until 1983. During that time, while attending Miami University to earn her master's degree, she met her future husband, Tom Lindsey.
They had a long-distance relationship when Tom attended Southern Methodist to earn a law degree. Kathy left Talawanda to become an assistant coach at Purdue from 1983-85, and the couple were reunited while Kathy was at the West Lafayette, Indiana, school. When she chose to return to her college alma mater as an assistant under Nancy Darsch, Tom left his job and followed his fiancee to Columbus.
"I remember telling the (age) 60-something head of the (law) firm that I was going to Columbus because my future wife got a job there, and he just couldn't understand how I could do that," said Tom, an Oxford native. "Things are a little different now, but back then it wasn't as common."
They were married in August 1985 and moved again when Kathy was named the head coach at Illinois in 1990. Their daughter, Kate, was born in 1993 and that left the family looking for stability, which they would find in Columbus after they returned in the fall of 1995.
"It's different than it is today," said Lindsey, who was 50-87 in five seasons with the Illini. "At the time, very few coaches stayed places for a very long time. I wanted to be more settled and send Katie to one school district. We thought about Cincinnati, but we had better job contacts in Columbus so we came here."
Kathy began teaching math at Hilliard, which became Davidson when Darby opened in 1997, and moved to Bradley when that school opened in 2009. Tom has been a municipal attorney for the cities of Columbus, Worthington and Upper Arlington.
The couple wanted to give their daughter the kind of upbringing that Kathy enjoyed in Hamilton and Middletown, and they succeeded, because Kate said her bond with her mother is similar to the one Kathy had with her father.
Lindsey coached DeSales from 1995-97 before leading Davidson (1997-2007) and Bradley (2009-18).
"I would sleep on the ball racks at practice when I was a kid and loved being there," said Kate, a 2012 Bradley graduate. "She took me scouting when I was young and I would keep the shot chart when I was 6 or 7 (years old) just to feel like I was doing something.
"When I started playing for her, it was great. You hear a lot of horror stories about being coached by a parent, but it was never that way for me. Maybe from going to those games and doing the shot charts and later scouting for her, I knew what she wanted. She wasn't just my coach, she was -- and is -- my best friend."
Kate later assisted her mother at Bradley, but left the program after the 2016-17 season. She currently is a fitness instructor and an event coordinator.
"The bond that Kathy and Kate have is stronger than with most mothers and daughters, and I think that came from that basketball relationship," Tom said. "You never know how it will go, but they had a lot of fun and Kate has a great appreciation for what her mother did. Basketball was our family life, and we enjoyed it."
"The girls weren't just basketball players to mom," she said. "The big thing was for them to succeed in life and not just on the basketball court.
"I did exactly what she did. I was scouting with her at age 5. I went to banquet dinners and tournament draws. I wanted to be around the game. She was a daddy's girl and I was a mommy's girl. She ended up being basically like her dad, and I became her."
Time of change
Kathy retired from coaching at Bradley in May with a 140-59 record that included three league championships (2015, 2016, 2017), two district titles (2011, 2015) and a regional runner-up finish in 2015. She still will be at the school, serving as site manager and an NCAA academic consultant.
Taking over the Jaguars will be longtime assistant Steve De Dent, who previously was the boys coach at Davidson and Jonathan Alder.
"I was lucky enough to be an assistant with Kathy for 12 years," De Dent said. "She was great to work with and someday they'll be putting her in the hall of fame."
Kathy said her biggest coaching influences were Darsch, former Ohio State assistant and Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer and, of course, her father.
Jack Gordon died Jan. 28, 2017, in Middletown at age 85. The Jaguars had a game that evening at Teays Valley, but Kathy wasn't sure if she would make it back to coach.
"My mom was very reluctant to go back (to coach the 49-41 win over Teays Valley)," Kate said. "She trusted Steve and knew he was capable of handling it, but I stopped her. I told her, 'Papa would not accept that you wouldn't coach the game because of this.' She knew she had to go coach for him."
Kathy coached one more season after her father died but then decided to put down her whistle after 40 years. She said the fire wasn't as strong as it once was.
"I only know one way to coach and that's to give it my all," she said. "I didn't feel as positive as I have in the past 10 years and it was just a combination of things. I didn't want to do anything but give an all-out effort for the girls.
"When I found out that I could be a coach for a living, I was ecstatic. Coaching was in my blood, and it still is. I'm not sure if Katie will be a coach because she's not patient enough, but that could change."
Someday, Kate may pick up the reins of the family business.
"I can't see getting into coaching right now, but who knows," Kate said. "If I have a girl, I would love to coach her. I would love to have the bond with her that I have with my mom."