Kelly Roysland was an asset to Minnesota during her playing days. Now she’s trying to be one as a coach.
The 28-year-old Roysland was a guard for the Gophers from 2003-07. She’s in her third year as an assistant on head coach Pam Borton’s staff.
She oversees guard development, assists with recruiting and, perhaps most importantly, helps mentor players.
“She brings so much experience,” sophomore guard Rachel Banham said. “She’s young, so she can relate to us. That’s the biggest thing.”
Roysland returned to Minnesota after beginning her coaching career at North Dakota State.
“After I was done being part of a team and finishing school, it made me really miss being part of a team and athletics on daily basis,” Roysland said.
Roysland has been around sports since she was a toddler.
Her dad, Mike, is the head women’s basketball coach at the University of Minnesota-Crookston. Her mom, Kim, coached golf and volleyball for more than 20 years.
Kelly said she observed how her parents coached and handled player situations in an effort to prepare for her own coaching career, which began in 2008.
Roysland was an assistant at NDSU for two seasons, but she knew she wanted to return to Minnesota.
“I think it’s any person’s dream to work for their alma mater,” she said, adding that Minnesota’s a place she’s “cared about for a very long time.”
Borton said she always wanted Roysland to join her staff. When longtime assistant Barb Smith stepped down in October 2010, Borton had a chance to make it happen.
“Kelly was the first one I wanted to bring back,” Borton said. “She’s been there, done that. She’s been through a lot of success here at Minnesota.”
Roysland’s adjustment from mid-major to Big Ten school was smooth. Having played for Borton, she was familiar with her offensive and defensive systems.
Recruiting in the Big Ten, however, is a completely different animal.
In Fargo, Roysland focused on recruiting more local talent. She’s had to expand her recruiting network in the more competitive Big Ten.
Roysland said she’d love to be a head coach some day, but she’s content where she is.
Players love having her around, too.
“She knows exactly what we’re going through and what it’s like,” junior guard Sari Noga said. “Having that first-hand experience and teaching it to us is really beneficial.”
Roysland said being around the team and watching players grow as people is the most rewarding aspect of her job.
“I feel like I’m in my dream job,” she said. “Where else would I go from here?”