SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — In 17 seasons at Texas State, coach Kat Conner has never felt more alive.
“I walk out here and sometimes I think you’re taking this for granted because last year I wasn’t here,” Conner said.
During a Texas State practice, Coach Conner is doing what she does best — coaching the Bobcats, but it’s with a new spirit only found on those with a second chance.
“I feel like it’s my duty to live life. Just thrive through it, not survive through it,” Conner said.
Just above 5-foot-tall, Conner may be small in stature but hardly underestimated in a fight. Her fight has never been so strongly tested “It’s called the silent killer and to tell you the truth I didn’t know anything about it,” Conner said.
Last season, the Bobcats were traveling for a game against Texas A&M Corpus Christi when Coach Conner couldn’t take the discomfort anymore. Soon after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
“It’s shock, it’s shock. You would never think it. You’re almost numb. You can’t even process it. I remember people talking to me but it’s not really going in,” Conner said.
Conner’s fight began last October. She was only able to visit her team a couple times a week, but she was hardly alone. Bobcat Nation stood behind her from the class of 2000 to now.
“I’ve been playing soccer since I was four years. I’ve been coaching for almost 24 years, so it was a part of me. I needed it for therapy. I needed to be around the team. I think it gave me hope and it gave me the will to fight,” Conner said.
Fight like a Bobcat together. Together, Texas State soccer raised money and support for Coach Conner.
“It’s overwhelming. You’re so competitive with each other. You want to beat each other so much. To turn around and see them support you in something that’s so important. It’s more important than sport and to know that we all care about each other…that sport is something we do, it’s not who we are,” Conner said.
Conner’s cancer is now in remission. It was soccer that helped Kat Conner keep fighting like a Bobcat.
“If you ever know of anybody going through the struggle be there send them cards, text them and tell them that you love them and tell them they can fight on because it does matter,” Conner said.