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Friday, December 19, 2014

Sports Q&A: An interview with Katie Hnida

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By William Aranda / New Mexico Daily Lobo

Former Lobo Katie Hnida talks with Lobo senior quarterback Clayton Mitchem during the Women’s Football Clinic at University Stadium on Thursday evening. Hnida played three seasons for the Lobos as a walk-on placekicker from 2002 to 2004 and was the first woman to score points in an NCAA Division I football game.

Albuquerque will always be a second home to Katie Hnida.

Hnida, who became the first woman to score in a Division I football in 2003, decided to return to Albuquerque this past week to help host UNM’s annual women’s football clinic. Hnida kicked two extra points in a 72-8 blowout victory over Texas State-San Marcos.

The Daily Lobo talked with the former kicker about coming back to Albuquerque, her thoughts on head coach Bob Davie and what it was like to score in a Division I football game.

DL: Why did you decide to come back to UNM and do this women’s camp?

Hnida: Anytime that I have the chance to come back to New Mexico I do. My schedule is really crazy. I live on the east coast now. I had sometime this summer when I found out that they were running the clinic as usual. I was like ‘Aw, man. I’ll be there.’ As a player, I did this every year that I was here. It was fantastic. It’s really exciting to come back down and be a part of this.

DL: How does it fell to be back at UNM?

Hnida: It’s phenomenal. Sometimes it feels like nothing has changed. Coming back to Albuquerque, for me in particularly, coming back to the University is like coming home. It’s definitely like my second home.

DL: What’s it like being our here and teaching women the intricacies of football?

Hnida: There are a lot of women out there that know just as much about the game just as men. You’re seeing a rise in female fans. It’s great to get our female fans out. This is more like getting a little sneak peek behind the scenes. You get to meet the players, go to the locker room and go down to the field. It’s a fun event. Everything goes to such a good cause. You just can’t lose.

DL: What do you like showing the women the most at the camp?

Hnida: It’s just getting to be out here with Lobo fans. Lobo fans are fantastic and the passion is absolutely fantastic.

DL: What do you think about the advancement women have had in football?

Hnida: I think it’s phenomenal. The sport has open up for women and it’s great because there are a lot of women who want to play football and that’s their passion. I think that’s it’s fantastic you’re seeing young girls playing on the Pop Warner level and onward from there. It thrills me to see that the numbers in high school have more than quadrupled since I was playing.

DL: Did you think women would be getting these types of opportunities in football?

Hnida: I think it’s just going to continue to grow. There are more opportunities and it’s more accepted. I think we’re just going to keep growing.

DL: What are your thoughts on UNM head coach Bob Davie?

Hnida: I really like coach Davie a lot. The direction that he’s taking the program is wonderful. He’s building stuff from the ground up and you’re going to see some phenomenal things in the years to come. It take a little while though to build a program so you have to be patient. His ethics and who he is as a man he’s really fantastic. I’ve been really impressed in that way.

DL: It’s been almost 11 years since you became the first woman to score in a Division I football game. Do you have any fond memories from that day?

Hnida: I remember that day like it was yesterday. I remember standing right there (pointing towards the west sideline) and I was soaking yet. I just wanted the game to be over soon because we were killing them. I had on like four layers of clothes and it had been raining the entire game. Then the next thing I know one of my coaches come up to me and tells me that I need to start warming up. I was like ‘What?’ That’s not what I expected. I thought that if they were going to put me in they would have done that a long time ago.