DAPHNE, Ala. — United States Sports Academy doctoral degree alumna Dr. Kristene Kelly has been named athletic director at Keene State College in Keene, N.H.


Dr. Kristene Kelly, Keene State’s new athletic director

For the past seven years Kelly has served at Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, N.C., as associate athletic director and as assistant professor and chair for the Department of Business, Accounting, and Sport Management. She provided leadership in directing and supervising operations for 14 sports, managing coaches, budgeting, staffing, and overseeing compliance and sports information, in addition to course development and educational guidance for students. Her new position at NCAA Division III Keene State began 1 June 2016.

“The Keene State program embodies everything that is valuable about college athletics, and with the college’s commitment to ensuring that athletics is a vibrant part of the student experience, I’m excited about the possibilities,” Kelly said. “I am prepared to hit the ground running, and will help to propel Keene State’s men’s and women’s athletics to new heights.

“Keene State’s student athletes, coaches, and staff inspire me. Their hard work and dedication is behind the college’s tradition of excellence. I look forward to continuing the success of Owl Athletics in the classroom, in the community, and on the different playing surfaces.”

Kelly earned her Doctor of Education in Sports Management with a sports leadership specialization from the Academy in 2014. She said that the flexibility of the online program at the Academy was crucial to her earning her doctoral degree, which was vital to her career advancement.

“The online approach with the Academy was phenomenal for me,” Kelly said. “When I entered the program, I was working full-time as a sports information director, which required endless travel and late nights. This approach allowed me to complete my coursework at my convenience.

“The Academy doctorate afforded me the opportunity to teach on the collegiate level and to serve as a full-time faculty member and department chair at my job at Saint Augustine’s University.

“The Academy faculty is quite diverse with varied experiences. Their knowledge and expertise really assisted me in learning and critically thinking about the wide world of sport.

“One thing I thoroughly enjoyed about the Academy is how each class is personalized to the individual student’s knowledge base and specialization. I am an intercollegiate sport enthusiast so I was able to truly delve into all types of issues relative to collegiate sport.

“My Academy mentorship with the vice president of student services at Saint Augustine’s University was extremely beneficial as I got to see and experience a different side of higher education where, at some campuses, the athletics department is held.

“I recommend the Academy to anyone who truly loves the business of sport. The faculty are caring but tough. The high academic expectations, the vast library resources, the distinguished faculty and the ability to work at your own pace without giving up your career were all things that attracted me to the Academy.”

Kemal Atkins, Keene State College vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, said, “I am delighted that Kristene Kelly will be joining our leadership team at Keene State. She has touched every aspect of athletics administration throughout her career, and she brings a unique combination of experience in management, administration, marketing and communications, teaching, and academic counseling for students. Kristene is a talented administrator and I am confident that her positive contributions to the college will extend beyond our athletics and recreational sports programs.”

Prior to her work at Saint Augustine’s University, Kelly served as sports information officer at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C., and as an academic counselor at the University of Tennessee.

In addition to her Academy doctorate, Kelly earned two bachelor’s degrees from Johnson C. Smith University in physical education and communication arts. She earned a master’s degree in human performance and sports studies at the University of Tennessee.