In Memoriam: Barbara Ann Kelly

Barbara Kelly, a pioneer in the advancement of women’s athletics at the University if Virginia, has died in her hometown of Garner, North Carolina.

In 1971 – in the midst of the University of Virginia’s transition to admitting women on an equal basis – Kelly was appointed assistant director of intramurals and physical education, becoming the university’s first full-time female athletic staff member. After developing a successful intramural and club sports program for women, Kelly was named director of women’s sports and the department of athletics’ primary senior woman administrator. She worked to bring about the university’s first three women’s varsity intercollegiate teams – field hockey, basketball, and tennis. She spent 38 years as a member of the university’s athletics department staff, retiring in 2009.

In 1959, Kelly earned an associate’s degree from Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina. She held a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, and a master’s degree in education from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

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