Kaitlyn Kelly first learned to play rugby at the United States Military Academy. The experience went so well she remained connected to the sport as a player and coach after graduation.
It made sense, then, that Kelly returned to her alma mater as assistant coach for the Army Women’s Rugby team for the 2020-21 school year.
Kelly, who was stationed at Fort Belvoir as a reservist with the 55th Sustainment Brigade, picked up rugby after choosing not to play basketball at West Point.
As a four-year standout at Army, Kelly earned all-American honors, while winning a number of team titles, including a 15s National Championship and a Collegiate 7s championship.
After graduating from West Point in 2012, Kelly stayed with the program as an assistant for one season.
Since then, Kelly played at Fort Bragg (N.C.) while posted there and then coached at the base after a knee surgery ended her career. Kelly moved to nearby Southern Pines, where she became the first coach of the local women’s program.
Once she completed her five-year commitment to the Army, Kelly continued to hold other positions in promoting women’s rugby while in the reserves.
In 2019, Kelly coached the All-Army Women’s Rugby Team to the inaugural Women’s Rugby Armed Forces Championship, and finished third overall in the Women’s Elite Division at Cape Fear. Also in 2019, Kelly was named the Coach Soldier Athlete of the Year.
Kelly’s other rugby coaching positions include “Team Manager/Assistant Coach of the Scion Rugby Academy where she assisted in planning logistics of 6 elite level rugby tours and two summer club national seasons,” according to an Army press release. The release also said Kelly was “the head women’s rugby coach at Bell Multicultural High School where she volunteered through the DC Youth rugby organization to create a high school rugby program for women in underprivileged areas.”
For more information about Kelly, see the June 24, 2020 issue of the Belvoir Eagle.