By: Mark Walusis
Kelly Herrmann has been around Franciscan University of Steubenville, particularly the athletic department, ever since she graduated from the university in 1987. In the time she’s been here, she has functioned as a positive role-model for many women of Franciscan and continues to share the important life lessons she learned from her experience as a student with the athletes placed in her care.
“I became the first full-time athletic director of Franciscan in 1988,” said Herrmann, adding that her roles in the university continued to expand as two years later she became the director of the intramural program.
Throughout the last twenty years, Herrmann has seen the athletic department expand and drastically change from a focus primarily on intramurals to the mix of intercollegiate and intramural opportunities it is today.
“The intramural program here was thriving, it had more programs then what it does now, we had billiards tournaments, ping pong tournaments, and badminton tournaments. All took place in what is now the Gentile Gallery, which used to be the gym.” Herrmann said. “I learned a ton through intramural sports, I like to joke that I majored in intramural sports. I spent a lot of time in them and received a great amount of valuable lessons from participating in them.”
Despite her love for intramurals, Herrmann’s athletic experience extends to many other areas. She has taken on many other jobs throughout the growth of athletics here at Franciscan: at one time she was the women’s basketball and volleyball coach, the intramural coordinator at the same time, in addition to home-schooling six young children.
“It’s interesting to look at my path of involvement here in athletics.” Herrmann said. “It really reflects the growth of the athletic program here on campus.”
Eventually, when the inaugural season of the women’s volleyball program struggled due to player coaches, Herrmann decided to take on the job, one that she has continued to focus on and enjoy since.
“I’m very blessed to be able to coach here,” Herrmann said, “I say to myself, ‘wow this is my dream job!:’ my work here at the University, from coordinating intramural sports and being the household coordinator of Carae Domini, to coaching the volleyball team, it all is literally the dream job for me.”
Herrmann added that she tries her best to be a good role model and impart some of the things she’s learned at the school to her players.
“Be faithful first, faith answers all questions we face in life,” Herrmann said. “Discipline is important as well, if you’re going to be faithful you have to be disciplined, you have to keep your priorities in life. You learn along the way that whatever you think won’t happen will, if you have a clear philosophy you can answer the questions in life, volleyball or any sport isn’t over after you graduate. The challenges you face and the discipline you learn carries on to everything you do”.
Regarding being a coach of faith Herrmann co-wrote “Coach Them Well,” a book dedicated to subject of coaching from a faithful perspective.
“They wanted me to help write it because they wanted someone from Franciscan,” Herrmann said. “People look to Franciscan as a standard, we are doing things right here, we are leading the Catholic culture in many areas.”
Thanks to her experience at the University, Herrmann has been able to learn and pass on many life lessons. Although the athletic department continues to grow, Herrmann believes it plays an important role in student’s lives.
“Everything we do is preparing us for what God is calling us to in the future,” Herrmann said. “All the things I learned here were profound and important life lessons. I gave up college athletics to come here and never once regretted it. “