Kelly Roysland is Still At Home in the Barn
By Pat Borzi
Coaching is the family business for Kelly Roysland (B.S. ’07, M.Ed. ’09). Berniece Carlin, her maternal grandmother, started the girls’ volleyball team at Fosston (Minnesota) High School in the early days of Title IX, the federal law passed in 1972 that mandates gender equity in education. Roysland’s parents, Mike and Kim, also coached basketball and volleyball at Fosston High; it was from there that Mike advanced to his current position as women’s basketball coach at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. So it’s no surprise that Kelly’s career path opened as clearly as a drive to the basket.
A former Gopher hoops standout and captain who called the Barn home for four years, including on coach Pam Borton’s 2004 Final Four team, Roysland is now in her fourth season as a Gopher assistant coach. She works with the guards and is known for her solid recruiting and communication skills.
“I always said I’d be a teacher and coach,” she says. “I really felt like, in a sense, that’s what I was given the ability to do—teach kids, mentor kids, help them become better basketball players and better individuals. I just felt like it was a natural fit for me.”
Roysland, 29, returned to the U in 2010 after two seasons as an assistant coach at North Dakota State University. Borton felt Roysland’s familiarity with Minnesota’s program trumped her limited coaching experience. “She knows me better than anybody,” Borton says. “She knows the system. She knows how we want things taught. I trust her with everything we do within the program. I don’t have to be looking over her shoulder on the court seeing if she’s doing all the right things teaching the guards.”
As a recruiter, Borton says Roysland played a critical role in landing incoming freshman Carlie Wagner of New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva, Minnesota’s top high school player, as well as Gopher sophomore guard Shayne Mullaney.
“I think she really helped us bring our recruiting to a different level, because she knows the type of players that I want to coach, and the type of players that are going to be successful in the Big Ten,” Borton says.
Junior All-Big Ten guard Rachel Banham grew up watching Roysland play and is thrilled to be learning from her. “She’s been there, so she gets it,” Banham says. “If I’m frustrated with something, and I don’t think the other coaches get it as much, she’ll say, ‘I know,’ and she’ll give me tips, since she’s been in that position.”
Borton sees a head coaching job in Roysland’s future, especially after watching how she demands more of players this season. “She’s never done that before,” Borton says. “She’s never been comfortable being the hammer, the one who’s going to come down on the kids. You have to be able to do that as a head coach.”
Mike Roysland, meanwhile, eagerly anticipates another head coach in the family. “I think she’ll be fantastic,” he says.