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DePaul's Osterman bares all for ESPN's Body Issue

By Pat Flynn
On October 19, 2009

Cat Osterman isn't really all that different from most people, in the fact that she wears many hats. There's Cat Osterman "softball superstar," Cat Osterman "the brand," and Cat Osterman "DePaul University assistant softball coach." But when Osterman graced the pages of ESPN The Magazine's Oct. 19 Body issue, she didn't wear any hats, or anything else for that matter. Osterman posed nude, wearing only a pair of cleats, her signature softball mitt and a smile. However, despite the lack of actual clothing, she revealed less than today's average bikini-clad beachgoer.

Osterman is a far cry from the stereotypical assistant college softball coach. Her record-setting play as a pitcher on the field has made her a very marketable brand. She is an Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist, has played professionally, and she currently holds endorsement deals with Under Armour and has a signature softball mitt with Wilson.

"I did it more as I have to think about my other career, and not my coaching career," Osterman said.

The usually conservative Osterman, said she made her bold decision to pose for ESPN's annual special issue in July.

"They literally gave us about four or five days that we had to make the decision," she said. "I was very hesitant. I am pretty conservative in that area, " she added.

"I don't even wear revealing clothes."

The photo shoot took place in late July and once Osterman put the awkward day of shooting behind her, she pretty much put the entire thing out of her mind.

One person who would have liked to chime in earlier was DePaul University's Athletic Director, Jean Lenti Ponsetto.

"I was not aware of it," Ponsetto said. "Cat came to me the day the issue was released and she wanted to make sure that I was aware of it."

"I appreciate that it was done with the best of intentions, but I would've at least wanted her to know there were a lot of ways that it could've been interpreted."

When asked what she would've advised Osterman to do, had she been approached before the shoot, Ponsetto was clear in her response.

"I probably would've said to choose not to do it," Ponsetto said.

Osterman, though happy with the results of the shoot, admits that she would have gone about things differently if she could do it over.

"I don't blame [Ponsetto] or [University Pres. Fr. Dennis Holtschneider, C.M.] for being shocked necessarily with the fact that I did it," Osterman said. "I knew [that]when I was making the decision."

Osterman, the NCAA's all-time leader for strikeouts per seven innings, understands how this type of behavior could be misconstrued as disrespect, but she is mindful of her place at DePaul.

"I know I represent DePaul and I have to think about that," she said. "But at the time I felt I had to make the decision as an athlete and not as anything else.

"I totally took a picture and forgot about it, then I started hearing when it was about to come out I was like 'Oh crap.'"

Osterman's players at DePaul were in the dark about the photo until it came out, and the topic was brought up at a team dinner.

"One of my teammates told us, and we looked it up online and we all kind of saw it together," said senior pitcher Becca Heteniak. "We all joked around and sent her texts and were kidding saying 'thank God for big mitts.'"

Heteniak went to bat, so-to-speak, for her coach, and looked at the situation with an open mind.

"That [picture] was her with the USA Team," Heteniak said. "It wasn't like 'I'm a DePaul coach I'm taking a nude photo.' It was 'I'm with my USA girls and were taking this photo together.'"

Senior Captain Annie Demas shared Heteniak's view. "We thought it was funny," Demas said. "I know some people think naked pics are inappropriate, but I thought the way it was done was good and it was to show the athletic body to women.

"I thought it was cool."

DePaul alumna (09'), and former softball player, Lauren Frankiewicz was excited for her former coach and, like her former teammates, saw nothing wrong with her actions.

"If I saw her in Playboy I'd be a little bit shocked and [it would be] discouraging to see it there," Frankiewicz said. "But something like [Sports Illustrated] or ESPN is very tasteful and athlete-driven."

Osterman said she doesn't think she would ever do a shoot like this again, but definitely took something away from the experience.

"It was a learning experience," Osterman said. "It was a great honor to be in ESPN The Magazine, especially with all of the great athletes that were in the issue.

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