ACC Legends: Kathleen Sweet of Boston College



Think it's tough to get to the WNBA? It is. In 2011, only 28 rookies appeared in the league, and there were more than 3,800 college seniors in NCAA Division I, II and III.

Now take those odds and multiply them by 28. The hard way. Then you'll see what Kathleen Sweet, Boston College's ACC Legend, is about to achieve.

There are 3,800 members of the Bar Association of Erie County in Buffalo, N.Y., and there's one president. Sweet's going to take over that gig on July 1. Even for an accomplished professional, that adds up to improbability.

Sweet , who finished her distinguished Eagle career in 1987, came along about a decade too late for professional women's basketball in the United States, but by that point, she had established a reputation for ethical conduct in medical defense. And there are no regrets.

"Don't take yourself too seriously," she said. "And enjoy the game."

Sweet did so as one of the first great players in BC's history. The NCAA didn't begin sponsoring women's sports until Sweet was in high school, and she arrived on The Heights as the program was starting to turn a corner.

A member of the Big East Conference's All-Rookie team in 1984, she twice earned second-team all-league honors thereafter. Her favorite moment came in her senior season of 1987, when the Eagles beat Providence 64-63 to make the conference championship game. BC had lost to PC 13 of 15 times and five in a row entering that contest.

The Eagles went 5-14 over their first two Big East campaigns before Sweet's arrival, but they were 29-21 in conference play in her final three seasons, establishing a foundation in a difficult league. Individually, she was the third Eagle to reach the 1,000-point mark - she finished at 1,006 - and she claimed 597 rebounds.

Meanwhile, Sweet was on her way to being named the Big East's Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 1987. She majored in sociology with an eye on law school, which she attended at Villanova.

Since then, she has become a partner in Gibson, McAskill & Crosby, LLP and was named Buffalo's Lawyer of the Year for 2012 in her area of expertise, which often involves defending doctors from litigation and accusations of malpractice.

The association she will lead is the largest in the state outside of metropolitan New York. (At 20.4 per 10,000 residents, New York trails only Washington, D.C., among all U.S. jurisdictions in lawyer volume.)