Neena Pacholke, Former USF Bulls Women’s Basketball Player, Dies of Apparent Suicide

by Nick Geddes

Former USF Bulls women’s basketball player Neena Pacholke died Saturday of an apparent suicide, her sister Kaitlynn told the Tampa Bay Times.

Pacholke, who was also a television news anchor for WAOW in Wausau, Wisconsin, was 27 years old. She was engaged to be married.

“My sister was by far the happiest person I thought I knew,” Kaitlynn said, via “Sometimes you just don’t know what people are going through, no matter how much you think you know someone,” she added. “My sister had access to every resource you could imagine. She was loved by everybody. She was so good at her job.”

Neena Pacholke lettered three seasons at USF (2013-16). She appeared in just a handful of games, but was a member of two Bulls teams that made the NCAA Tournament. The program issued the following statement on her passing via Twitter.

“The Bulls are heartbroken to learn of the sudden loss of our beloved former teammate Neena Pacholke (2013-16),” the statement reads. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Neena and her family during this extremely difficult time.”

Neena Pacholke Moved to Wisconsin After USF Bulls Career

Neena Pacholke joined WAOW as a multimedia reporter in 2017. She began working as an anchor in 2019. Neena became a Green Bay Packers and was an avid skier in her free time, her sister said.

Neena’s co-anchor, Brendan Mackey, penned a tribute to her on his Facebook page Monday.

Being your co-anchor Neena was an honor,” Mackey wrote. “You were batman and I was robin. When I joined WAOW you made it clear we were going to work hard and compete with the best. Let’s remember Neena Pacholke for the beautiful person she was. The brightest light in the room. The biggest smile and the funniest laugh.”