Kiely Resigns, Headed to Arkansas

Submitted by: Ron Smith - March 26th, 2015

 

Kiely_Kristi_2014_2750After five years at the helm of Westmont Women’s Soccer, head coach Kristi Kiely has announced her resignation. Kiely posted a record of 65-26-10 (.693) at Westmont and took the program to the NAIA National Championship the last four years. In 2014, the Warriors finished as NAIA national runner-up under Kiely’s guidance.

“Coach Kiely’s accomplishments on the field in her five years are considerable, but she will be remembered more by me for what she accomplished relationally in the lives of our student-athletes and how she created an amazing culture,” said athletic director Dave Odell. “The young women she recruited to our institution are leaders and fit nicely into the overall mission of the school. Her team consistently led our athletic program in team GPA and also found the time to give back to our community.”

Kiely’s association with Westmont began in the fall of 2001 when then Kristi Peich wore number five as a freshman and started all 19 games. During her four years as a player, Kiely was a part of three National Championship team (2001, 2002, 2003).

As coach, Kiely was named the 2014 Golden State Athletic Conference Coach of the Year after the Warriors claimed a share of the GSAC regular season championship and won the GSAC Tournament. Under Kiely’s watch, 12 Warriors have been named NAIA All-Americans and 20 have earned All-GSAC honors. Academically, her players have been recognized as NAIA and GSAC Scholar-Athletes on 15 occasions and four times have been honored as CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. She has also led her team on two mission trips to Africa, visiting Kenya and Uganda.

Kiely has accepted a position as assistant coach at the University of Arkansas where she will work with head coach Colby Hale. Her decision to leave Westmont has not been an easy one.

“Westmont is and always will be home,” said Kiely, “That’s really the best way to describe what Westmont means to me. I have been here for the better part of 15 years. My best, deepest friendships were forged here. I met my husband here; my daughter was born into this community. Westmont took a chance on me when I joined the soccer team as a 17-year-old, again when they asked me to be the assistant to Dave Wolf as a 24-year-old, and again when I was named head coach at 26.”

“Any growth or any success I’ve had spiritually, personally and professionally is due in large part to this community,” continued Kiely. “Professors, coaches, staff at all levels of the college, alumni of all ages – from my players who just graduated to those on Westmont’s first soccer team like Cliff Lundberg – have created a community the likes of which I’ve never experienced. I get looks of disbelief and amazement when I get the chance to testify to its power – which is often as recruiting is a large part of coaching.

“That’s what makes leaving so hard. We truly feel like we’re leaving home. Westmont’s mission is to create faithful, thoughtful, global leaders. I am a product of that mission and hope to continue that mission in a new community in Arkansas.

“I’m thankful for this opportunity at Arkansas. Coach Hale is building something special there and I look forward to joining in that process with him.

Westmont has already begun a nationwide search for Kiely’s successor.

“Our women’s soccer team has generated some great momentum and it is a strong program with a bright future,” said Odell. “We have a wonderful group of returning players for next year and I intend to find them another great coach in the coming weeks.”

A search for a new coach will begin immediately. Please inquire directly to Athletic Director Dave Odell at dodell@westmont.edu.”