Kristen Foley adapts after switch to administrator.
Many college coaches develop a love for the game they teach at a young age. They played their sport as children, then in high school and maybe in college or professionally.
Then one way or another, they become a coach as a way to stay connected to their passion. But when the time comes to stop coaching it’s not easy, unless leaving isn’t so much leaving as transitioning.
That’s exactly what former women’s basketball coach and current Senior Women’s Administrator Kristen Foley did.
“I wasn’t as successful as I wanted to be as a coach,” Foley said.
Foley coached Temple from 1995 to 2000, posting a 45-93 record. In 2000, Temple and Foley mutually agreed to part ways but she was brought back shortly after as an administrator. Now she’s one of two remaining members of former Athletic Director Dave O’Brien’s staff, and took an uncommon path – a former coach turned administrator.
“This is more of a profession, it’s more of a skill set that isn’t necessarily related to having been a head coach or an assistant coach [anymore],” Athletic Director Bill Bradshaw, who arrived in 2002, said.
Foley’s departure from coaching meant the arrival of former coach Dawn Staley, the program’s all-time winningest coach.
“The move to [Staley] was just a no-brainer,” Foley said. “The opportunity to bring a big name, an Olympic medalist, just a great player and somebody who had been in the WNBA, just really was an opportunity to bring the program to another level.”
It’s rare that a current coach works with an administrator who was the previous coach. Staley had never coached before and Foley was fresh out of the locker room. Foley helped Staley with things from player management to budgeting. The two worked well together, and the Owls eventually captured three consecutive Atlantic Ten Conference championships.
“[Foley] knows what it is for the coaches, what they have to experience, the NCAA rules, budgets, the interactions with student athletes, with parents,” Bradshaw said.
When Staley left for South Carolina in 2008, Foley led the recruiting committee that hired Tonya Cardoza, since led the Owls to NCAA Second Round appearances in 2010 and 2011.
Foley currently oversees Temple’s women’s sports. She calls herself an “assistant coach” to the coaches and Bradshaw, helping them with whatever they need.
While Bradshaw called Foley “invaluable,” she remains humble.
“You don’t bring [Staley and Cardoza] along at all,” she said. “I kind of go along with them. It’s more of a supportive role and you kind of hang on their coattails.”
She’s helped coordinate multiple Atlantic Ten Conference tournaments, NCAA Regional championships, and was a member of the NCAA basketball rules committee and fencing committee.
“I love the coaches here, I love what we’re doing, I love working for [Bradshaw],” Foley said. “You can’t say enough about where we are, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going to be.”
Several years ago, Foley was given the opportunity for radio broadcast of women’s basketball and studied ESPN’s Doris Burke, Debbie Antonelli and other women’s basketball sportscasters. At the Owls’ home games Foley provides the color commentator for web streams.
“That’s why I love doing the web stream. You get to put that ‘coaching hat’ back on and you get to do the strategy,” Foley said.
Foley said she does miss some aspects of coaching, however.
“Obviously you miss the interaction with the kids, and planning out the practices, and how you’re going to beat a team,” she said. “I always enjoyed that piece of it.”
Jake Adams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.