A coach’s coach-Joe Kelly

Every year the WAC holds a collegiate rugby awards event.  My previous teammate M.A. Sorensen comes to town from Philadelphia and gives out an award in her name to a deserving college athlete.  I look forward to seeing her and getting together with our other teammates Liz Kirk and Marie Hahler.  We tell stories of the past and get caught up on the rugby scene of today.  This year was no different as we had a tremendous meal prepared by one of the Hahler–Kirk’s sons and laughed our butts off for several hours.

M.A.’s husband Joe Kelly was the USA forward pack coach for the 1998 Women’s World Cup of Rugby.  Joe is a stand up person and a coach with whom I model a lot of my current style.


He is a fair but firm kind of person.  No nonsense, fundamentals based, with a contagious passion that made you want to climb mountains for him.  He was the first coach I didn’t want to please or get attention from….I just wanted to honor what he put into us.  I wanted the world to see what we could do because of what he taught us.  I felt more internal motivation from being in his presence than I ever imagined possible.

Joe was also vicious player himself.  He shredded opponents with the little nuances it takes to leverage and manipulate another person’s body to your advantage on the field and he passed those techniques onto us.  Our team was known for our technical scrummaging and Joe was the mastermind.

Every year I look forward to seeing both M.A. and Joe and love it that they get into the gym to do a little training and if you are lucky and in the gym at the same time, you will get to see them too!



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