FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona head women’s basketball coach Laurie Kelly has resigned to take the head coaching position at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn.
Kelly leaves NAU after nine seasons as the longest tenured and winningest coach in program history, having won 117 games and the 2006 Big Sky Championship to take NAU to its only NCAA Tournament. Former Gustavus Adolphus coach Mickey Haller resigned in March after 12 seasons as the school’s all-time leader in coaching victories with 226.
Kelly is a native of Rochester, Minn., who cited family considerations in accepting the new position: “Having all of my family there, this provides me an opportunity to stay in coaching but to also have my children grow up with their relatives around them.”
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Kelly came to NAU in 2003 after serving five seasons as the head coach at Binghamton University, helping the Bearcats transition from Division II to Division I. She guided NAU to three winning seasons during her first-four years in Flagstaff including two 20-win seasons. The 2005-06 team tied the program record with 22 wins, winning three games in the Big Sky Championship and defeating host Idaho State in the title game to advance to the only NCAA tournament in program history.
The search for a replacement will begin immediately, according to Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Lisa Campos.
“We will look to build on the program that Laurie leaves behind,” said Campos, who will start full time on May 7. “I look forward to the national search and finding a new leader for our women’s basketball program.”