Karen Watkins Sparks

As a four-year letterwinner and three-year team captain and Most Valuable Player, Karen Watkins cemented her place as one of the strongest frontcourt players in Grove City College womenís basketball history. 

As a 5-foot-10 freshman center in 1978, she made an immediate impact by helping the team to a 13-1 mark. 

Four years later, Watkins graduated as Grove Cityís career leader in rebounds with 862óa mark that has been surpassed only once in 26 seasons.

With the "best teammates in the world," according to Karen, they won four Womenís Keystone Conference titles with 27 wins against a single loss and a 67-11 overall mark.  She is one of just two Grove City players to average a "double-double" for her career, averaging 11.0 points and 11.5 rebounds over 78 career games.

The 1980-81 Wolverines earned the programís first postseason berth by qualifying for the EAIAW Championship Tournament. Watkins averaged 11 points and 12.6 rebounds per game in helping Grove City to an 18-4 season record. 

As a senior, she hauled in a school-record 287 rebounds as head coach Terry Ellisí cagers collected 19 wins and the programís first-ever NCAA Division III Championship Tournament invitation.

Watkins graduated in 1982 with a bachelorís degree in social work/sociology.  Later, her hometown of Erie, Pa., recognized her as one of the cityís top 50 athletes of the 20th Century. 

She embarked on a career as an Operations Manager/Contractor for an oil and gas company before beginning her current career as a high school geography teacher. She has also been active as a womenís ministry leader and a motivational speaker.