Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University
This Month @ Moritz

Meet Kristin Watt '89, Voice of the Lady Buckeyes and So Much More

"The only kids my age in my neighborhood were boys," says Kristin Watt '89, "If you wanted to play with them, you had to learn to play sports!" Her sport was basketball. Her dad was in her court, installing a driveway basketball hoop.

By the time she attended tryouts as a high school freshman, she was a standout. It only took a brief stint in junior varsity before the coach moved her up. "I didn't even know the rules," Kristin says with a laugh. After blowing the whistle on her three times for staying in the "key" beyond the three-second limit, her coach finally realized he would need to educate his talented new varsity player.

Kristin Watt
Kristin Watt as a Buckeye
She was recruited by OSU and has been active with both the team and the university ever since. "I loved everything about my OSU basketball experience," she says enthusiastically. Kristin was a forward for Ohio State from 1981-85 and was a co-captain her senior year. The Buckeyes won the Big Ten each of those years, including a perfect 18-0 in the conference in 1984-85.

In her 17th year as a "color" commentator on WOSU radio for OSU Women's Basketball games, she provides analysis, gives the "scoop" on players, and puts the game in context for fans, while announcer Marty Bannister gives the play-by-play. Kristin's broadcasting career began during her second year at Moritz. Then-coach Nancy Darsch recommended Kristin to WOSU personnel, who hired her on the spot.

Over time, Kristin has had to adjust her schedule of covering games, especially while a young associate. Now she covers just over half; the remainder are covered by Toni Roesch, who works with Fox Sports Net out of Chicago. When out-of-town games fall on Thursdays, Kristin flies out with the team on Wednesday night and is back on Thursday night, all while using the internet to stay connected with the office.

"The kids are great," she notes. "They are articulate, funny and smart." A former recruiter, she clearly loves the time she gets to spend with the team on the road. She's been able to help team members off the court as well. Former player Emily Haynam, who was not sure about law as a future career, is now trying it on for size as a project assistant at Vorys Sater Seymour and Pease, thanks to Kristin.

Her service to the university was a natural outgrowth of her great experiences at OSU. All lettered athletes are eligible to join the Varsity "O" Women's Alumni Society, and Kristin served as its president for two years. During her time on its Board of Directors, the Board succeeded in having the first class of women inducted into the OSU Sports Hall of Fame in 1993. She also served for four years as an alumni representative to the OSU Athletic Council-and was the first woman to do so.

Some decisions in life are best made by knowing what we don't want. "I was an accounting major," she says, "and didn't like it as much as my friends did. When I graduated two quarters late, they already had jobs, and hated them! I thought I would try something else." The law was an intriguing alternative, so she applied to Moritz.

Morgan's Midshipman t-shirt
Kristin and a few classmates paid tribute to Professor Shipman by wearing these t-shirts to class
Lumbering to class on crutches didn't stop Kristin from having fun at Moritz. She had a blast with the WNDC, the Wednesday Night Drinking Club, whose members frequented campus bars to have a beer and watch the game as a break from studying. She enjoyed Professor Morgan Shipman and made sure to take a class from him every year. She and a few classmates paid tribute to him in an unusual way: by wearing t-shirts to class emblazoned with "Morgan's Midshipmen." She also remembers Professor and current Clinic Director Greg Travalio with fondness, "A great guy."

Just as advice from friends steered her toward law school, experiences with new friends led Kristin toward focusing on environmental law as her primary practice area. She joined Vorys Sater Seymour and Pease after graduation, and enjoyed both the work and the people in the environmental practice so well, that she chose to stay there. She represents "everyone from widows to Fortune 500 companies," helping all with environmental law compliance. She feels strongly that all people want to leave the legacy of a clean earth to their children and grandchildren; her involvement in interpreting environmental law for her clients helps to accomplish that.

Some opportunities find you - often with a friend's help. One of Kristin's mentors in the environmental group, Sheldon Taft, is a lifetime trustee of the Opera Columbus Board. At his retirement, he suggested that she take his place. Never having been involved in the arts, but having what she calls a "healthy respect" for their role in bettering the community, she agreed. Her first year has been a great experience. "The group is first-class, hard-working, and diligent," Kristen says. She was able to meet a totally different group of people, and has enjoyed expanding her circle of friends and colleagues while learning about opera and composers. She is helping to organize the Opera's upcoming Opera Ball, to be held on April 9.

It's not surprising that this environmental lawyer is fond of the outdoors. She is an avid hiker. Although none of her close friends enjoy hiking, she did convince one to accompany her on a five-day trek on the Appalachian Trail. Another accompanied her to the summit of Washington 's Mt. Rainier.

Being open to new experiences, whether climbing a mountain or learning about opera, have defined Kristin's life, but she stays connected to the things that matter most to her-and that includes Ohio State. Beyond her work with the Women's Basketball team, Kristin provides advice and counsel to Dean Rogers as a member of the Moritz Alumni National Council.

She stays connected to friends from Moritz as well. Just a few weeks ago, she had her "OSU Law School Chicks' Night." She keeps in touch with Diana Butts, Julie Faris and Katie Spies Giumenti - all from the class of 1989 - by having sleepovers at least twice a year. This year's was especially fun, because the nine- and eleven-year-old daughters of a couple of the "chicks" were in attendance. "We always plan for it months in advance. It makes it so much easier to stay in touch, because we are all so busy."

For those who'd like to get in touch - for a hike or even a visit to the opera - Kristin's email is kwatt@vssp.com.