Kathleen Doyle becomes the first female athlete to have a jersey retired at Benet Academy

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Kathleen Doyle achieved about as much as a basketball player could ever dream of during her time in a Benet Academy uniform. On Saturday, Jan. 13, Doyle became the first Redwing female athlete to have her number retired by the school. Taking her place alongside school legends like Frank Kaminsky and Dan LeFevour. 

Surrounded by Redwing hoops her entire life

“Honestly, it’s such an honor, and Benet has been like a second home to me for so long,” said Doyle. I grew up going to my older sister and brother’s games and things like that. So I grew up in this gym, and to have my name and number hanging up there is really, really special.”

The two-time All-State selection was able to bring the program its first two state championship victories in 2015 and 2016, as well as the first Ms. Illinois Basketball Award in school history following her senior season.

While wearing number 11 for the black and red as a four-year varsity player, the guard developed into one of the most talented players in the state and the heart and soul of Head Coach Joe Kilbride’s two championship teams.

“I kind of knew she was going to get recognized,” said Kilbride. “She’s such a great representative of Benet and Redwing Nation, and we’re thrilled to be able to recognize her, not just for the player she was, but the person she is.”

Getting noticed at a very young age

Long before Doyle put on a Redwing uniform, Kilbride knew she could be one of the best. As a young kid, she made the most out of attending her older siblings’ games.

“At halftime of sophomore games, she’d go out on the court and shoot around when she was like ten, 11, 12 years old,” said Kilbride. “By just watching her shoot around, she could have started on our freshman team when she was in sixth grade.”

“I secretly was hoping that he would be impressed by me when I was at my sister’s games doing all that,” said Doyle. So it’s good to know that (it) paid off.”

Doyle continued to receive awards at the next level

Her unprecedented success on the court led Doyle to a standout career at the next level at the University of Iowa. She helped the Hawkeyes to an Elite Eight appearance in 2019 before winning the Big Ten Player of the Year award in 2020. She was also named a third-team AP All-American in that same year. 

Later that spring, Doyle was selected in the second round of the 2020 WNBA Draft by the Indiana Fever, becoming the first Benet graduate to play in the WNBA.

The jersey retirement ceremony took place during halftime of the girls basketball game against St. Viator, where Benet went on to win 82-30. Following the game, a reception was held and many of Doyle’s family, friends, and teammates were in attendance. 

“Seeing all my teammates here today, It’s just like we were right back in high school and nothing has changed,” said Doyle. “I just had so much fun with all of the people that I was lucky enough to be surrounded by all those years.”

This winter, Doyle joined the coaching staff alongside Benet boys basketball coach, Gene Heindkamp. The boys team went to the state finals a season ago.

The Benet girls basketball program also made it to the state championship a year ago.  The Redwings were led by another Ms. Illinois Basketball Award winner, who grew up idolizing Doyle and those championship Redwing teams.

Kathleen Doyle is a Benet Academy legend

“I’ve had two once-in-a-lifetime players between Kathleen and Lenne Beaumont,” said Kilbride. “I’m just incredibly blessed and so happy today that we’re able to recognize Kathleen for her multitude of accomplishments because she is an outstanding representative of Benet Academy.”

For more prep sports stories, visit the Naperville Sports Weekly page!