Barry University has hired its first professional softball player as an assistant coach.
Kelley Montalvo has played eight years for the Akron Racers in Ohio, part of the National Pro Fastpitch League. She will continue to play in addition to coaching.
“This is a rebuilding year here at Barry, and what we’re trying to achieve is a winning mentality,” she said. “In the past, their record may not have been that good, but that’s why we’re trying to inspire a culture change.”
As a pro, she accumulated 89 RBI’s, 120 runs and 17 home runs according to the Racers’ website.
Montalvo was also a 1st Team All-American player for the Alabama Crimson Tide and received a full scholarship to play under head coach Patrick Murphy.
“Playing collegiate softball under such an amazing coach really helped to mold me into the player I am today,” she said. “I feel like now it’s my duty to do the same for this team.”
Sean Cotter, who was hired as head coach at the same time as Montalvo, said he’s excited to have a pro on board.
“One of the main reasons Kelley was hired here at Barry U was because she has lived the life of each of these girls,” said Cotter. “Who better to guide and lead them to bigger challenges, than someone who has filled those shoes, or should I say cleats?”
Cotter said he brings his own resume of coaching experience to the team, having worked for 18 years at NCAA programs. He said in all his years of coaching, he has never seen a style of playing like Montalvo’s.
“Just only knowing Kelley these last few months, I definitely can see how her personality reflects her style of play and why people say she is so contagious,” said Cotter. “She has this love for the game that clearly shows on and off the field.”
This is not Montalvo’s first time coaching collegiate softball. She coached for three years at Middle Tennessee State University, where she was able to raise the team’s batting average from .272 to a .297 by her last year in 2015.
Montalvo, a Miami native, said she is happy to be back in her hometown and near her family.
“When I went to Alabama for school, I never really moved back after I graduated, I just kind of floated around working and playing and coaching,” she said.
“Now I get the chance to do what I love, but still be around my family, especially my mom,” she added.