Saint Vincent College Mourns Loss Of Coach

LATROBE (KDKA) – The Saint Vincent College community is in mourning following the loss of its head women’s basketball coach.

Long-time coach Kristen Zawacki was found dead on Christmas in her home.

Her life and legacy were being remembered today by family and friends.

She was the face of women’s athletics at the college’s Latrobe campus. Zawacki, 52, who was the school’s first and only women’s basketball coach, was found dead from an apparent heart attack.

College President Brother Norman Hipps said it’s a big loss for the players, college and community.

“There’s a hole in our heart and it will remain there, but we will be together. We will pray, tell stories,” he said.

Zawacki, a Penn State graduate, came to Saint Vincent in 1983 to start a basketball program when the college switched from all men to co-ed. By 1984, her newly-recruited team was already in the playoffs.

“She herself was a strong woman; she recruited good women, her graduates from the program,” said Br. Hipps. “I think her graduation rate is probably about 96 percent.”

Lisa Riley was an All-American who played for the Lady Bearcats from 1984 to 1988. She still holds the record for 44-points in a game.

“She just always strived to make you a better person instead of downing you. She tried to make you better, give you some positive reinforcement,” said Riley of her former coach. “You worked hard because of her; you wanted to do good because of her.”

Zawacki developed a successful program, earning her 500th career victory in 2009. Recently, she talked about expectations for this season.

“I’m pretty pleased with where we are,” she said. “I think we’re a little bit behind where we would like to be in terms of getting us to the competitive level.”

However, she was much more than a basketball coach for people who knew her.

“Just in life in general, treating people good, treating them with respect,” added Riley. “She was a good person to be around. If you ever needed anything, her door was always open. “

For those reasons and many more, Zawacki will be sorely missed on campus.

A complete obituary and funeral arrangements for Zawacki will be posted on the Saint Vincent College website as soon as they’re available.

MORE INFORMATION: Saint Vincent College | Athletics Website

Stay With For More Details


One Comment

  1. SickOfRudePeople says:


  2. Deneen says:

    She didn’t die of a heart attack if the autopsy is pending toxicology results which it says on the westmoreland coroner website. Something else has to have went on.

  3. Lou says:

    First any autopsy results are never final until all tests are in and toxicology tests are never done in hrs it takes weeks in some cases and why would you even question this at this juncture , let her rest in peace you twit ,

  4. CDW says:

    Coach would never rush to judgement on anyone so why would you do that to her. Her family and friends are devastated and need positive support not negative.

  5. anyone says:

    Some people are going to be haters regardless. Why they would want to draw negative attention to this tragic situation is beyond me. There’s a page on facebook set up to remember coach if anyone is interested.

  6. Kate says:

    Are you as ignorant as you sound???

Comments are closed.

More From CBS Pittsburgh

Play It
Get The All New CBS Local App

Listen Live