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Virginia Assistant Athletic Director Barbara A. Kelly was recently honored by the Atlantic Coast Conference during the 25th Anniversary of the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament, held in Greensboro, N.C, March 1-4.

A native of Garner, N.C., Kelly founded and hosted the first ACC women’s tournament in 1978. One of the driving forces behind the development of a national class women’s athletic program at Virginia, she is in her 32nd year at UVa.

“I think the University and the local community should be extremely proud of their roles in encouraging the ACC to recognize their own institution’s women’s teams and therefore finally sponsoring championships for our women,” Kelly said. “The ACC was the first conference to do so. We could not have hosted the first tournament without the University and our community’s interest and support.”

Currently serving as an assistant athletic director for planning and special projects, Kelly became Virginia’s first full-time female athletic staff member in 1971 when she was appointed assistant director of intramurals and physical education.

“Actually the first (ACC Tournament) was very, very developed. Barbara Kelly did a great job with orchestrating the entire event,” recalled head coach Debbie Ryan. “She was amazing at how the way she pulled things from here and resources from there and put an incredibly exciting event together.”

From 1973 to 1979, Kelly served as director of women’s sports programs. She also coached UVa’s first two women’s basketball teams in 1973-74 and 1974-75, leading Virginia to a two-year record of 25-12.

Before coming to Virginia, Kelly taught in the Norfolk school system for 10 years as a health and physical education teacher and as intramural director. She played semi-professional softball for the Travelers Women’s Softball Team.

Kelly received her bachelor’s degree in 1961 from East Carolina and her master’s degree from the College of William and Mary in 1971.

At Garner High School, Kelly was a four-year letterwinner, and co-captain her junior and senior seasons, in basketball, coached by Jim Stevens. In 1956 following her senior year, she was offered one of the first basketball scholarships in Wake County, to Pineland (N.C.) Junior College. She instead attended Campbell University and played basketball for two seasons prior to transferring to East Carolina.

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