Detroit Mercy alum a star for the Red Wings

Former University of Detroit Mercy softball player and the valedictorian of the 2022-23 school year Kara Wolfbauer has taken off on an exciting new chapter of her life as the new arena host for the Detroit Red Wings.  

Kara’s story starts just north of Detroit where she began her journey as a determined athlete and scholar.  

“I grew up just about 30 minutes north of Detroit,” Wolfbauer said. “As I was deciding where to go to college, my mom encouraged me to go to Accepted Students Day at Detroit Mercy. The minute I went there, I knew it was the right place.”  

Despite initially having her aspirations to play college softball shelved, that passion was re-ignited upon visiting Detroit Mercy.  

“I suddenly decided I wanted to go for it once more,” she said. “So much of my success goes to being an athlete at Detroit Mercy. It gave me so many opportunities and introduced me to so many amazing people.” 

Kara’s academic prowess was also something that did not go unnoticed as it was broadcasted when she was named valedictorian in 2023.  

“Speaking in front of my class at graduation was an honor and a moment I’ll never forget,” Kara said. “It was the perfect way to say goodbye to a school that meant so much to me and my family.” 

The opportunity to become the Red Wings host for Kara emerged in a serendipitous manner. As she was getting ready to graduate, a sports reporter from CBS Detroit, Ronnie Duncan, featured Kara as a story revolving around her as Detroit Mercy’s valedictorian. Kara subsequently caught the attention of the manager of game presentation at the Red Wings, who contacted her via LinkedIn. 

After attending an audition at Comerica Park, Kara received a call back a few weeks later inviting her to host a preseason game as a second audition. Shortly after, she received the news that she had landed the job. She also still serves as a sideline reporter for ESPN+ broadcasts of Detroit Mercy athletics. 

Kara’s influence extends far beyond her current role as the Red Wings arena host. Her impact on new students is best illustrated through the experiences of individuals like Tamara Aziz, who had the privilege of being guided by Kara during orientation.  

“When I got to know Kara, she was very sweet and motivating for our group,” Aziz said. “Having her as an orientation lead made the experience super enjoyable.”  

Aziz even went as far as speaking about how Kara’s short role with her helped shape her perception of Detroit Mercy.  

“I do think my view was changed on Detroit Mercy after I met her,” Aziz said. “I had a lot of concerns when going to Detroit Mercy, and I was able to talk to her through my problems in a short amount of time. Having that helped me feel more secure going into my first week three years ago.” 

As Kara looks toward the future, her aspirations are grounded in continual personal growth and open-mindedness.  

“I just hope to keep personally growing and getting better each day in this role,” she said. “I like to keep an open mind; that’s what got me this job in the first place.”  

In reflecting on Kara’s journey, P.J. Gradowski, Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Communications and Kara’s former boss at Detroit Mercy, describes her as one of the most visually impactful younger alums to come through the university in the last 15 years.  

He said, “Her being visual on campus was huge for the university. Even outside off campus with the Red Wings, she can be all around Detroit.”  

Kara’s ability to represent both UDM and the Red Wings with distinction underscores her status as a standout alumna, leaving a profound impact wherever she goes in her career.