Towson University women’s basketball head coach Laura Harper completed her coaching staff Tuesday morning with the final addition of Crystal Kelly as associate head coach.
“Crystal is a home run hire for our program,” said Kelly. “She has succeeded at every level, both playing and coaching. She is a tireless worker and a masterful recruiter. She brings a wealth of experience, professionalism and grace to Towson women’s basketball.”
Kelly comes to Tiger Town after serving as an assistant coach to Bellarmine University for the 2020-21 season. She rejoined Coach Chancellor Dugan’s staff after previously serving as an assistant for four seasons from 2012-16. Bellarmine’s first season in Division I and the ASUN came in 2020-21 and was highlighted by a four-game winning streak in ASUN play and All-Conference accolades for Tasia Jeffries.
Kelly was a member of Dugan’s first staff at Bellarmine when she took over the program in 2012-13. Everything came together in Kelly’s final year in 2015-16, when the Knights went 24-4, captured their first-ever Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament title and earned their first NCAA II Tournament berth since 2007-08. Bellarmine’s winning percentage (.857) tied a program record.
Before returning to the Knights, Kelly spent both the 2016-17 and 2019-20 seasons as an assistant coach at Tennessee Tech. She was primarily responsible for the team’s post players, including forward Treyvonna Brooks, who averaged 11.1 points per game, while leading the team in field-goal percentage (49 percent), rebounding (6.3 per game) and blocked shots (37).
In between her two stints with the Golden Eagles, Kelly spent two seasons as an assistant at Xavier, where she was instrumental in numerous roles including scouting, recruiting and player development, as well as serving as the team’s liaison for all academic affairs.
While in Cincinnati Kelly led the mentorship of Xavier’s post players, a group that included A’riana Gray, who earned All-Big East Honorable Mention status in 2018-19. Gray led the Musketeers with 13.9 points per game and led the conference in rebounding with 11.5 per game. She was the only Big East player to average a double-double for the year.
In her own playing career, Kelly is regarded as one of the most accomplished players the state of Kentucky’s history. While attending Sacred Heart Academy in her hometown of Louisville, Kelly was named Kentucky Miss Basketball (2004), a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year (2003 and 2004) and the 2004 Associated Press Player of the Year. She also earned All-America accolades from Street and Smith, Parade and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. She led the Valkyries to three consecutive state championships (2002-04).
Kelly continued on to Western Kentucky University where she became one of the most distinguished players in the program’s history. Her number, 42, was retired following a decorated career that was capped by her recognition as the Sun Belt Player of the Year in a senior season that saw her lead the nation in field-goal percentage at (64.4 percent). Kelly received All-America honors in three different seasons, she was four-time first-team All-Sun Belt and the Sun Belt Freshman of the Year. She still tops WKU’s record book in multiple stats, including points (2,803), points per game (21.6), rebounds (1,258), field goals made (953), field-goal percentage (61.7) and free throws made (885).
Following her career at WKU, the Houston Comets selected Kelly in the third round of the 2008 WNBA draft. She played in the WNBA for three seasons in addition to playing professionally in Spain, Italy and Brazil.
“I am honored to be a part of Towson women’s basketball and Coach Harper’s coaching staff,” Kelly said. “I have known Laura for many years, and I have been able to witness her passion as both a player and a coach. Wherever she goes she wins, and I look forward to being part of such a dynamic and powerful coaching staff. I’m excited for the future of this program and ready to win on and off the court.”CAA Towson