Gustavus Adolphus College has named Laurie Trow Kelly the new head coach of its women’s basketball program. Kelly, a 1993 graduate of the University of St. Thomas with a major in speech communications, is replacing Mickey Haller, who resigned in March after serving as the head coach for 12 years. Kelly comes to Gustavus from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, where she has directed the Division I Lumberjacks for the past nine seasons.
“I am excited to be returning to Minnesota and competing in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC), which I feel is one of the best Division III conferences in the country,” stated Kelly. “To be asked to join an exceptional academic and athletic program like Gustavus is truly an honor. I look forward to working with the outstanding staff, faculty, and students at Gustavus. ”
Kelly added, “I want to thank President Ohle, Al Molde, and Tom Brown for giving me this opportunity. I am humbled and overjoyed to be bringing my family to St. Peter and joining the Gustie family.”
A Rochester, Minnesota, native, Kelly made a quick ascent through the Division II and I coaching ranks after a record setting Division III playing career at the University of St. Thomas in the early `90s. In the past nine years at Northern Arizona, she has compiled the most wins in the program’s history (117), while also directing the team to its first-ever Big Sky Conference tournament title and NCAA tournament bid in the 2005-06 season. During Kelly’s tenure, the Lumberjacks advanced to the Big Sky tournament six times with two appearances in the championship game (2006, 2007), and her teams have registered two of the three 20-win seasons in the program’s history.
In addition to quality on the floor, her squads have also been strong in the classroom, with four players earning CoSIDA Academic All-District honors including one Academic All-American. The Lumberjacks were recognized in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Top 25 Academic Honor Roll six times, with two Top Ten national rankings.
Prior to her position at Northern Arizona, Kelly coached at Binghamton University in New York and built the Bearcats into one of the top Division II programs in the country before helping the institution transition to a Division I program in 2001-02. In that first year of Division I competition, Kelly directed the team to a 19-9 record and a second-place finish in the America East Conference. During her five years at Binghamton, Kelly compiled a record of 94-22, including a mark of 75-13 in the program’s final three years at the Division II level, and her squads won New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) titles in 1999 and 2000 and Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) titles in 2000 and 2001. She was named ECAC Coach of the Year in 2000 and New York State Coach of the Year in 2002. Kelly started her collegiate coaching career as the graduate assistant coach at Minnesota State University, Mankato from 1996 to 1998. While she was at Minnesota State, Mankato she earned a master’s degree in physical education with an emphasis in sports administration.
Before her success in the coaching ranks, Laurie Trow Kelly was a standout player at the University of St. Thomas from 1989 to 1993 and is recognized by many as one of the greatest players in NCAA Division III history. A gifted athlete, the 6-1 Kelly scored 2,607 points and pulled down 1,204 rebounds in four years, earning Kodak All-America honors three consecutive seasons. In her senior season (1992-93), Kelly was voted National Player of the Year by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association after averaging more than 26 points per game. She set 22 conference and 24 school records, was conference MVP three times and was also named Midwest Sports Channel NCAA Division III Women’s Athlete of the Year. In January of 2006, Kelly was one of five players selected to the NCAA Division III 25th Anniversary Team.
“We are very excited about Laurie Kelly accepting our offer to be our head women’s basketball coach. One of the most successful basketball players in the history of the MIAC, Laurie has turned around the basketball programs at each of her career coaching stops,” stated Athletics Director Al Molde. “With her background and understanding of the MIAC and her experience as a head coach developing programs, we are confident that we have chosen the right person to lead the Gustavus women’s basketball program.”
Laurie Kelly becomes the ninth head coach in the 44-year history of the Gustavus women’s basketball program. The Gusties have compiled an all-time record of 603-411 (.594), winning two Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships and making five NCAA tournament appearances.
In addition to her coaching duties, Kelly will serve as the coordinator of the Gustavus Health Promotion program (GHP). The Gustavus Health Promotion program offers employees at Gustavus a variety of educational opportunities, assessment tools, and physical activity experiences so that they can achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Kelly and her husband, Matt, have two daughters, Morgan (9) and Madison (7).