Senior Spotlight: Callie Eike
Born in Germany and baptized in the Jordan River, Callie Eike’s childhood was defined by change.
“I didn’t have a hometown,” she said. “My parents are in the Air Force, so we moved all the time, but I’ve been able to see the world: Germany, Egypt, Texas, and Arizona. I was a military brat.”
After living in 24 different houses and attending three different high schools, Callie found herself graduating in Nampa, Idaho, and making a decision to attend Montana State University-Billings (MSUB) – putting an end to the constant relocation.
“They told my mom she had six months to live, and she wanted to see me play college basketball,” Callie said, explaining her choice of college.
But after her first year of college, Callie was overwhelmed by her mother’s situation, academics, and basketball. She made the decision to quit playing for good.
“I had a lot on my plate,” she said. “I’d worked with [RMC coach] Brian Henderson at NBC camps during the summer, and he told me I was too good to quit. He helped me keep with it.”
Henderson’s intervention was lucky for Callie. Transferring to RMC, Callie found a home and rediscovered her passion for basketball. There’s light in her eyes when she explains what basketball means to her college career.
“All of the bad things going on in my world seem to not matter when I’m on the court,” she said. “And I know my parents love seeing me play – they watch all of the games – and they know that I find joy when I’m on the basketball court.”
When Callie’s on the court, her joy cannot be contained. She believes basketball has been a blessing, giving her hope and focus and allowing her to prepare for the future.
“My dad’s always told me ‘every day a little better’ and that sticks with me,” she said. “Basketball is a job and my teammates are my coworkers. The fact that I tore my ACL nine months ago makes me want to work even harder at my job. If I can finish a great senior year after coming back from something that people don’t think you can come back from, that’s an amazing achievement.”
Through determination and hard work, Callie did come back and have a great senior year for the RMC Lady Bears – and it seems strong recoveries seem to run in the family.
“My mom had an incurable cancer and is in remission now,” Callie said. “She wasn’t even supposed to make it to my wedding this summer, but just having her here is a blessing.”
After graduating, Callie hopes to find a position working in sports information and athletic administration. She and her husband, Kale Eike (RMC '11), live in Billings, and for now, Callie's satisfied being in one place.
“Billings is the one place I’ve lived the longest,” she said. “It feels like home.”
Callie’s mother, Cassie Kautzmann, recently published a book about her battle with cancer. The Comfort Zone can be purchased through Amazon Books.