May 26th, 2017

SHA alum becomes an assistant at Xavier

Staff Report

SHA alum becomes an assistant at Xavier
photo provided by Xavier

CINCINNATI – Xavier women's basketball head coach Brian Neal has announced the hiring of former WNBA player Crystal Kelly as an assistant coach. Kelly was previously an assistant coach at Tennessee Tech.

"Since her playing days in high school, Crystal has been a dominant force in women's basketball," Neal said. "That momentum has only picked up speed collegiately, into the professional ranks and now in her coaching career. She connects easily with people and has a wonderful story to tell. We are thrilled to have her join our program and work with our student-athletes."

Kelly brings five years of coaching experience to Xavier, including a four-year stint at Bellarmine University (2012-16). In her final year at Bellarmine, she helped the squad post a 24-4 overall record – tying the best winning percentage in school history – as the Knights advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008.

"I am extremely excited to join Coach Neal's staff and become a part of the Xavier family," said Kelly. "When I saw the excitement of the players, staff and administration I knew this was the place for me."

Prior to her coaching career, Kelly played professionally in the WNBA for three seasons. She was drafted in the third round (No. 31) of the 2008 WNBA Draft by the Houston Comets.

Kelly played collegiately at Western Kentucky from 2005-08, finishing her career as the school's all-time leader in scoring (2,803) and rebounding (1,285). The 2,803 points ranked 12th all-time in NCAA history at the time of her graduation.

In 2008, she was named the Sun Belt Player of the year, while leading the nation in field-goal percentage (.648).

The Louisville, Ky., native attended Sacred Heart Academy where she was tabbed the 2004 Associated Press Player of the Year, while earning Gatorade Player of the Year honors twice. She was named a Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-American and Miss Basketball her senior year.

"Since I am originally from Louisville, I know a lot about the strong tradition of women's basketball at Xavier University and I feel very blessed to now be a Musketeer," added Kelly.

Kelly has been inducted into the Dawahares/KHSAA Hall of Fame in 2015 and was honored on the 2016 WBCA's Thirty Under 30 list, which recognizes 30 up-and-coming coaches age 30 and under at all levels of the game.


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