Karissa Smith

I met Kelly at a very young age when my Aunt Dayna was an assistant at the University of Pennsylvania, and Kelly was the head coach.From the day I met her I have never heard a person say anything bad about her, which makes this accusations so shocking and unbelievable. Kelly could have easily solely focused on winning, and what her assistants and players did while at basketball, but Kelly went out of her way to form relationships with not only her assistants and players, but also their families and the community that supported her team. She formed penn pals, which allowed children to write to communicate with a player on the team, and feel a part of the college athletics world. I would always be excited to receive a letter from my penn pal or go to a game and get to hang out with the players and coaches after. Also, since she cared about Dayna, in turn she cared about my siblings and I. She would let us ride the bus with the team, and be water girls on the bench. I will never forget how exciting it was to feel welcomed and cared about by a whole team of college girls and amazing coaches. I still reminiscence with my sister and family about the Penn basketball summer camps. Kelly set up such an amazing camp that not only allowed my to develop basketball skills, but also have an enjoyable time. As a young kid, being away from home can be scary, but she made sure every child at the camp had a good time, and felt comfortable.When I look back at camp I do not remember all the drills she set up or activities we did, but I remember having so much fun, and never wanting to leave. I am so happy that I was able to meet Kelly, and hope she continues inspiring future student athletes and creating a nourishing and nurturing atmosphere for her current and future teams. Kelly ‘s ability to push people to work hard, while also building meaningful relationships makes her an outstanding coach. Overall, Kelly allowed me to see into the college world of athletics, and how a sports team can become a family. The way she led the team made me want to be a part of something that awesome, and influenced me to play a sport in college. Anyone or any school would be lucky to call her their Coach, and experience the “family” and winning atmosphere she creates.