Courtesy: Ball State Athletics
Kelly Packard enters her fourth season as the head coach of the Ball State University women's basketball team. In her inaugural year on the sidelines, Packard led the Cardinals to the most successful season in program history and became the first coach in Ball State's women basketball history to win 26 games in a rookie season. The 2008-09 historical season included the Cardinals posting their best ever overall and home records, 26-9 and 14-1, respectively. Ball State also had its best Mid-American Conference showing, turning in a 14-2 ledger.
In just her first season Packard guided Ball State to its third straight MAC West Division title, its first MAC Tournament Championship and its first NCAA Tournament berth. Packard and the Cardinals stunned the women's basketball world when she coached her team to a 71-55 first round win in the NCAA tournament against the two-time defending national champions, the University of Tennessee. With the win, Ball State managed to extend its win streak to 12 straight victories, which is the longest win streak in program history. Packard's 2008-2009 Cardinals finished with the MAC's highest RPI (45) and SOS (strength of schedule) ranking (91).
In April 2009, Packard was selected by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association as the recipient of the 2009 Maggie Dixon Division I Rookie Coach of the Year award. This distinguished award honors a WBCA Division I head coach who led their team to a successful season during their first year at the helm.
Packard was chosen to represent the Mid-American Conference in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 USA Today ESPN Top 25 Coaches Poll as a voter.
Packard came to Ball State as the former head coach of the Colorado Chill of the National Women's Basketball League (NWBL) and a long-time assistant at Colorado State.
Packard was previously the executive director of the WNBA Expansion Team for Colorado, working for Triple Crown Sports. She spent two seasons as the head coach of the Colorado Chill (2004-06) of the NWBL. During her tenure, the Chill posted a 34-12 overall record while claiming the 2005 and 2006 league championships. She was the team's general manager in the 2006 season and compiled a roster that included five WNBA players, including All-Stars Becky Hammon and Ruth Riley.
Packard's collegiate experience covers five seasons over two stints at Colorado State where she worked for Tom Collen (currently at Arkansas) and Greg Williams (currently at Rice). During her five seasons, the Rams saw unprecedented success as they posted a 99-49 overall record and appeared in two NCAA Tournaments. She was part of the staff that guided CSU to a 33-3 record in the 1998-99 season as the Rams claimed a No. 5 national ranking, a WAC Mountain Division title and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.
She also was part of the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) selection committee and a site coordinator. She was the head coach of the 2006 Athletes in Action Brazil Women's Basketball Tour where she guided her team to a 7-1 record.
Packard was a four-year letterwinner at Anderson and was inducted to the Anderson University Hall of Fame in 2002. She was a four-time All-Hoosier Conference for Women selection and ended her career as the school's all-time leading scorer and rebounder. She earned her degree in mass communications in 1990.
Packard and her husband, Rich, have two children Derek (17) and Evan (13).
Packard's Coaching Awards
2009 WBCA Maggie Dixon Rookie of the Year
USA Today ESPN Top 25 Coaches Poll Mid-American Conference Voter
Colorado Chill (34-12)
Assistant Coach Colorado State (99-49)
Director of Athletics Tom Collins on Kelly Packard's Contract Extension
"Kelly Packard had an outstanding season in her first year as the head women's basketball coach at Ball State," Collins says. "She enabled our program to make a very smooth transition to a new head coach and accomplished things never before done with Ball State women's basketball. We are excited she is happy at Ball State and we look forward to continued success with our women's basketball program."
Statement from Ball State University President Dr. Jo Ann M. Gora:
"I couldn't be more pleased to welcome Kelly, her husband Rich, and their two sons to the Ball State family," Ball State University President Dr. Jo Ann M. Gora said. "Kelly brings an impressive array of coaching experience from a NCAA Division I team to the NWBL. At the international level she also coached the Brazilian Women's Athletes in Action team. She's been part of winning programs in each of these arenas including a run to the Sweet 16 while an assistant coach at Colorado State. I know this was a difficult search because we had so many talented applicants. Kelly's track record of success combined with her strong Indiana ties make her a great fit for building upon the strengths of our Women's Basketball program."
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
Director of Athletics Tom Collins on the hiring of Kelly Packard
Kelly Packard on her decision to accept the position
"This is a great place. In the interview process I felt very comfortable. I’ve studied everything I could about the young ladies in this program. It’s a great day. When you can align healthy leadership and a great community, I’ve been given another great opportunity."
"I’m excited about continuing to build on the fan base that I know is here. Having been part of the WNIT, I know all about the postseason Kentucky game here and the turnout that the community provided, so I believe we’ve got something to bounce on top of and move forward."
Kelly Packard on how she became familiar with the Ball State program
Kelly Packard on her coaching philosophies
"We run what’s called an early break, and we run a secondary break, and it’s a good day if we don’t have to get set in offensive sets more than eight to 10 times in the first half. That’s fast play. We have to have big people who are in shape and can get up and down the floor in order to run that. You’ve got to be in a track meet to play my style."
"I love the offensive game. I love to be as complex as I can be. That’s from the professional side. Those ladies love complexity, and my mind loves complexity."
Kelly Packard on her return to college coaching
"At the end of the day, I have this passion to lead women, and it happens to be women in sports. Once you’re in coaching, it really becomes a passion. And it’s not just the basketball. For me, the basketball is secondary. For me, it’s leading young women."