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Kelly Bevere Softball & Asst. Women's Basketball Coach - Dir. of Compliance Alma Mater: Middlebury '99 Years at Midd: 10

Kelly Bevere
Softball & Asst. Women’s Basketball Coach – Dir. of Compliance
Alma Mater: Middlebury ’99
Years at Midd: 10

Interview with Kelly Bevere

Interviewed by Derek Pimentel

Why did you choose Middlebury as a coach? Why Division three opposed to division one? Why have you chosen to stay at Middlebury?

I was an undergraduate at Middlebury. My Basketball coach in high school got me to look at Middlebury. At first I was not really interested because I was only going to be able to play one sport (basketball) compared to all the other schools I had applied to I was going to be able to play two sports (softball and basketball). In the end, I got the most financial aid from Middlebury. At that point, it made my decision much easier. I had to attend the school that would have offered me the most financial aid.

My senior year they added a Softball team. Someone in my class figured out that Middlebury was not Title IX compliant so they decided to add softball. I was a senior and decided to opt out from Softball considering the fact I had not played in the past three years.

 

Tell me something memorable from your earlier years at Middlebury and as a coach?I have been here since 1995 so that is pretty encompassing. As a student-athlete my favorite moment was my sophomore year when we won the ECAC championship. That year was the 2nd or 3rd year that teams were allowed to participate in the NCAA tournament so making the ECACs was still a really big deal. For many of us, the ECAC tournament was the equivalent to the NCAA’s.As a coach probably winning NESCAC’s two years ago. It was a special group and I was very pregnant for most of the season so it is something I never will forget.

 

 

Have there been moments of disappointment in your coaching career?  Has your coaching approach and/or methods changed over time?

 

Yes and Yes. Disappointments – certainly when athletes don’t live up to their potential or when they let things get in the way of them being as successful as possible. As a coach you always try to challenge and encourage at the same time and sometimes it can be tricky in terms of getting everyone to act as one solid group. When you aren’t able to reach everyone on the team, it can be disappointing because its something we all strive for. Developing and enriching the lives of the young women I coach is my main goal. Helping them learn how to become the best possible teammate, student, athlete and leader is what I hope to accomplish at the end of each year.

 

I definitely think that becoming a mother altered my coaching approach and methods changed as well. I became more patient and further developed the ability to see the alternative side to many things. Being a mom has also helped me to understand that it is important for our female athletes to see and understand what its like to enter the real world and be a mom and be able to manage all that goes with that.

 

The biggest thing that has changed over time is the type of student-athlete we have been getting here at Middlebury College. When I was a student athlete there were not nearly as many prep-school kids here. This does not necessarily mean it’s a negative thing but rather just an observation. But it does say something as to where our student-athletes are coming from. When I was here we had many more blue-collar athletes. But again I do not think it is a negative or positive thing but rather an observation.

 

How have things changed since you have been playing/coaching here at Middlebury?

For example I know that NESCAC only use to have a season and no post-season.

I look at it from a bottom to top approach. When I was young everybody played multiple sports. Nowadays kids are directed to play for example; Lacrosse from age 6 and up. When they arrive at a place like Middlebury, our non-playing season restrictions are odd for most kids because they are used to playing their one sport for 12 months a year. I think the evolution of that has had emphasis on post-season play.

 

In the past there were many athletes that played multiple sports.

Absolutely. When I was a student-athlete, my friend Doug Mandigo (current assistant football coach) played Football, Hockey, and Baseball. Doug would go from Hockey practice to Baseball – that’s at least a five-hour commitment for a day of practices. That just does not happen anymore. Even if there are multiple sport athletes, they are often in non-overlapping sports and the athletes will take a week off between sports. The exception is now a two-sport athlete, whereas before, I felt like it was much more common.

 

Do you believe it would be accepted from coaches today?

I think there it is different for different sports. Personally for softball, I like to get Basketball players or Hockey players. It tends to be a natural cross over. But by this stage in life most athletes will simply pick one sport.

How have rivalries changed in the course of your Middlebury career?

Overall, I think it’s about the same. I think different teams have different rivals. Everybody always thinks that Williams is our rival but Williams does not consider us their rival. I would say for us (Softball) its Tufts. We have had two years in a row that we have gone up against each other in the post-season. Middlebury does not have the natural Williams – Amherst rivalry.

Over the course of your Middlebury career what changes have you seen with the relationship between academics and athletics?

First of all, I think everybody here is incredibly smart. Students here have been nurtured during their academic careers to be in a very successful spot here and I do not think that was always the case.  I think the focus is definitely more on academics. For instance, when I was a student-athlete everybody played games or was watching movies on the bus on our way to games. Now student-athletes are reading a book or on their computers studying. I think it is the norm and is expected because of how intense the academic atmosphere is on campus. If you don’t do work on the bus, you are going to fall behind. In 4 years, I honestly don’t remember opening a book on the bus.

 

What is the role of sports in the Middlebury education? How has it changed?

I think the school takes great pride in their athletics. I know this because I know other schools where that is not necessarily the case. The student body can either make or break an athletic department and at Middlebury, we have a strong student body that supports Middlebury Athletics. We have friends of teammates that attend games – it’s helpful. Men’s basketball is a great example of how our student body comes out to support our athletes. Or for instance, this past year for field hockey—Coach Ritter basically cancelled practice so the football team could come out and cheer on our field hockey team. That does not happen at other places.

The only sort of question mark for me is what has happened with men’s hockey in the last 10 years or so.  For example, when I was a student, everybody would cram in Nelson arena to watch hockey games. The atmosphere today is completely different – the crowd is filled with towns-people rather than students. I think hockey is and was a very big part of Middlebury and it is something I would like to see change for all sports as well.

 

How do you believe athletics enriches a student’s experience at Middlebury? You may answer this through your own experience of being part of a team?

I grew up on a team my whole life. Being a part of a team is an experience you do not get from playing Tennis – or any other individual sport. It is not the same as playing on a team where you get the camaraderie, the support system; you have people holding you accountable when you do not feel like holding yourself accountable. You get leadership and guidance from upperclassmen. All those ups and downs that you get throughout a season are fought together as a team. Those are huge life lessons.

 

What is the relationship between your team with the community? What about when you were here as a student?

For Basketball we take part in the “Sisters in Sport” program with the seventh grade students from the local middle schooI’s basketball team. I truly believe that it is one of the best things that the Basketball team does. It provides an opportunity for the local kids to have older (but not old) female role models.  When they are granted this opportunity, it allows them to gain a certain initiative to stick with their academics and not just fall behind.

With softball we are peer mentors at the local high school. Also in the last seven years we have had three parents die from cancer so we are actively involved with Relay for Life.

 

What is the relationship between the coaching staff and the athletic administration and has that changed over time?

Erin Quinn is the only athletic director I have known. He has been here since I have been here – so there have not been many changes.

In terms of mentors, Missy Foote and David Saward have been here for a long time and are usually those I seek out.

 

Tell us something about your secondary athletic assignment and how it has affected your Middlebury career?

Basketball is my secondary assignment. After graduating from Middlebury I stayed another year as a grad assistant coach, then went to law school in Boston. After completing law school, the Assistant Basketball position opened. My husband (also a Midd grad) always wanted to move back to the area so we seized the opportunity and moved back to Middlebury. At the time, the Softball position was not available. A few years later, the Softball position opened and I applied for it and was fortunate enough to be hired. There is definitely a time in the year where I find myself involved in both sports due to their overlap. It is stressful but there’s no other place I’d rather be. I am also the Director of Compliance so that takes up a good portion of time as well.

 

What are your thoughts about the NESCAC conference?

For instance we start November 1st while other teams have already played in 5 plus game by that time. Is it the same thing for Softball?

The philosophy of our league is based on academics. I believe in this philosophy. I think we set ourselves apart and I do not think that starting two weeks after everyone else is that much of a problem. When you see NESCAC teams in the Final four, Elite 8, Sweet 16 of many different sports, there doesn’t seem to be much of a disadvantage for starting later than everyone else. It may put teams at a disadvantage at the beginning of a season, but in the long run I do not believe it affects teams.

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