Kelsey Fraley, a former Goshen College women’s basketball player, has now joined the coaching staff. Fraley played for four years as a Maple Leaf and graduated in 2017.
Throughout her career, Fraley had multiple coaching opportunities in Goshen, including head coach of the freshman boys’ basketball team at Goshen High School and head coach for the Bethany Christian Middle School girls’ team. Stephanie Miller, head coach at GC, enters her eighth year for the Goshen College women’s basketball team, and she has added a new assistant coach to the staff.
“The day came when I had to make the decision on which one I was going to accept,” Fraley said. “Coach Miller walked into my room and laid it all on the table and ended up offering me the assistant position at Goshen alongside her and Vinnie, which was something that I could not pass up, so I accepted it.”
Basketball in the Fraley family was not a huge hit as Kelsey was the only one to pick up the rock.
“When I was in school at Olivet, basketball was a big thing, but no one in my family was much of an athlete,” said Fraley.
Her passion for the game started at a young age.
“When I was 5, I just picked up the ball and fell in love,” she said. “Basketball was one place where I could just let go of everything going on and have fun and enjoy every little thing the game had to offer.”
As a very recent Goshen College alum, Fraley will undergo new emotions and relive memories as she begins coaching on the sideline, such as recalling her prior experience on the court as a player.
“[In] my junior year, my team made it to Nationals, final four to be exact,” she said. “Watching the atmosphere, the teams, the coaches and just everything put into something so big made me realize I would love to be a part of that.”
This big moment of her college basketball career ended up changing her major.
“After returning from Sioux City, Iowa, where we played in the final four, I made the decision that athletic training wasn’t for me anymore and that I wanted to pursue coaching,” Fraley said.
According to Fraley, Miller has taught her a lot.
“Being able to coach at my alma mater is such a privilege. I’ve learned so many things through the years from Coach Miller,” she said. “Being able to sit on the bench in totally different attire learning from her makes me so very thankful because I know I am learning from one heck of a coach. And if I can be just half of the coach she is, I will know that I have succeeded.”
Miller has known Fraley for almost ten years as a basketball player.
“I met Kelsey when she was a camper for me at the McCracken Basketball Camp as an 8th grader,” said Miller. “For years, I watched her grow as a camper. I knew after the first year she played for me that she had the knowledge of fundamentals, an ability to teach and a passion and love for the game that would make her a successful coach.”
Miller has used this tactic before on her coaching staff.
“This will be the third time I have had a former player involved on the staff because I believe that it is an invaluable quality,” Miller said. “Having been a part of the program, an assistant knows the ‘little things’ that outside hires would not.”
Fraley has set many goals for herself. One is to make it clear that she is a coach and no longer a player because she played with over half the current team last year.
“Being a very recent alum of GC and having played with some of these girls I think one of my biggest goals for my first year of coaching is establishing myself,” Fraley said. “I am a coach, not a college friend anymore.”
Fraley also aims to “work hard every day and soak up as much information from Coach Miller and Vinnie as I can because these two have so much to offer me.”
Alyson Prigge, a sophomore, had thoughts about Fraley’s transition from player to coach.
“I loved Kelsey as a team leader, and now she can still teach me on and off the court and still be a great friend to me,” Prigge said.
Prigge believes Fraley will have a smooth transition.
“I think Kelsey will be great. She has a high basketball IQ and knows the game inside and out…With Vinnie and Coach Miller on her side, the sky’s the limit for her coaching career,” she said.
Coach Miller also mentioned Fraley’s value when Miller herself cannot get through to the women. Fraley can “help bridge the gap between players and coaches” as a former player, according to Miller.