Andover Wrestling Head Coach Kassie Bateman ’06 became the first female head coach of a New England Prep School in 2019. She was instrumental in organizing and hosting the first-ever All-Girls’ Prep School Wrestling Tournament. Aside from coaching Andover, Bateman serves as Director of Female Wrestling on the New England Prep Wrestling Association (NEPSWA) board.
Bateman began her wrestling career at Andover after stumbling upon a wrestling poster in George Washington Hall during her Junior year. Bateman attended a preseason practice, where she fell in love with the sport. As a three-year varsity wrestler, she became the first female to place in the Class A league tournament, and at the Girl’s National Wrestling Tournament.
Bateman said, “I think that having lived the student-athlete experience at Andover, as a coach I try to be mindful of the various demands that our students have on their time. I always do my best to respect their time, and make the most of the 90 minutes we have together daily.”
After graduating from Dartmouth University, Bateman returned to Andover and has been coaching the team for seven years. Bateman further iterates her love for the sport due to the valuable lessons of perseverance, commitment, and challenge.
“I love wrestling and the life lessons that it teaches you. In wrestling the match is never over until the referee blows the whistle. You can be losing 0-10 and catch your opponent in a bad position and pin them. So you can never give up, because there’s always a chance that you can turn things around. That determination and work ethic stays with you,” said Bateman.
According to Byron Johnson ’25, Bateman first-handedly recognizes the physical demands of wrestling. In the midst of intense practices, she checks in players to ensure that they can handle the more demanding aspects of the sport. She plans these check-ins with fun games in order to energize the team.
Johnson said, “She keeps us motivated and focused, but at the same time, makes sure that we’re having fun with the sport. Wrestling is very tough, and it’s very physically demanding. If anyone knows that, that’s her… She’s making sure that we are physically okay, mentally okay.”
Bateman continues to honor the values of hard work, teamwork, and inclusion set by former Head Coach Rich Gorham. According to Tasha Bohorad ’26, Bateman instills these values every day in a way that drives wrestlers to support each other.
“Our team is really sportsmanlike. We cheer for everyone on the whole team in exhibition matches, which don’t count for points. We’re still cheering and making sure that we care about everyone’s match, which I think she puts as an example,” Bohorad said.
Last Saturday, the team celebrated its annual Senior Night on its last home match. When Bateman began coaching at Andover, she introduced the tradition as a way to celebrate and honor Seniors for their leadership and dedication to the sport.
“We never had the tradition of a ‘Senior Night’ before, and I thought that was a nice way to recognize our Seniors and their special role on the team, whether they are first-year wrestlers or four-year varsity starters,” said Bateman.
As the team reaches mid-season, Bateman looks to prepare each wrestler for the upcoming Class A Tournament, Championships, and Nationals. She has personalized the schedule this season to introduce competitive opponents earlier in the season to prepare Andover for the approaching competitions.
Bateman said, “One of my goals for the team is to develop their skills and challenge them at their appropriate level… One way we do this is by adjusting our competition schedule over the years… This year, I knew some of my wrestlers needed national-level competition earlier in the season, and so we took a few wrestlers down to Delaware for Beast of the East… At the end of the season, if everyone has improved, if we’ve done our best to help each athlete achieve their goals, I’d call it a successful season.”