Football wasn’t the only program with a recent coaching shake-up.
The women's basketball program announced Thursday that head recruiter and assistant coach Barb Smith resigned to pursue other coaching opportunities. The team wasted no time filling the position, hiring former Gophers guard Kelly Roysland shortly after.
Smith’s departure came just a week after Director of Basketball Operations Abby Kershaw resigned to take a job outside of basketball.
It hasn’t been decided what role Roysland will play in recruiting in place of Smith, but she will play one. The Fosston native spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at North Dakota State.
“I am very excited Kelly is coming home,” head coach Pam Borton said in a release. “Kelly has been an integral part of this program as a player, and she will add a tremendous amount to our staff.”
As a freshman in 2003-04, Roysland played alongside Lindsay Whalen and Janel McCarville on the team’s unlikely run to the program’s only Final Four appearance. She went on to score 1,074 career points, good for 13th all-time, and was named the team’s most valuable player her senior year.
“It’s a whole different ballgame,” Roysland said of coaching and recruiting versus playing. “You kind of have an idea when you’re a player about what coaches do, but until you’re actually one yourself and really doing the recruiting and evaluating of players it’s amazing just in terms of what actually goes on and the time and effort [of] bringing the team together.”
Roysland said she learned last weekend of Kershaw’s impending departure and a few days later about Smith’s. “It’s been a pretty quick transition,” Roysland said.
According to a Thursday press release, Smith left to pursue “other professional opportunities.” Kershaw declined to be interviewed for this story but said she is taking a job at GreenMark, an environmentally focused sports marketing and sponsorship agency.
As Smith’s replacement, Roysland will oversee guard development and will play a role in recruiting. The Gophers have not announced a replacement for Kershaw.
The Gophers play their first exhibition Nov. 3 at home against Southwest Minnesota State and their first regular-season game Nov. 13 against Northern Illinois, also at home.
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