Behind the Dores: Brynne Kelly

As Senior Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing & Promotions, Brynne Kelly does a little bit of everything to showcase student-athletes, entertain fans, and honor community members. You just won’t find her in the rafters of Memorial Gym. Definitely a Springsteen concert, but never those rafters.
I’m originally from New Jersey, born and raised in Lawrenceville. It’s right on the dividing line. North of us are Giants fans and south of us are Eagles fans. My parents grew up in Philly so we’re Eagles fans.

Donovan McNabb was my favorite player. I remember Terrell Owens playing for the Eagles and it being very controversial. Definitely a Phillies fan. We’ve had season tickets on and off. I lived in Chicago for a year and went to see the Phillies play at Wrigley and Cole Hamels pitched a no-hitter in his last start for them. It was pretty amazing to watch.

I was a big sports fan growing up. I remember when I first got into football, we were watching an Eagles game one Sunday. I didn’t know how the game worked. My older brother was so annoyed because I kept asking questions about how first downs worked. He had to explain everything to me.

I played soccer and lacrosse growing up. My freshman year I went to St. Joe’s in Philly and was a basketball manager for Phil Martelli. It was a lot of water bottles, folding towels, hanging out at practice, filling up Gatorade tubs. But it was fun.

Alabama had just won the national championship in football when I decided to transfer, so I was like, “Maybe I’ll look there.” So, winning championships really does help admissions. I was looking all over the place, but as soon as I went to Alabama, I fell in love with it. I met with someone in the athletic department and got started in marketing, and now here I am.

We always tell our interns on Day One, you need to learn how to roll T-shirts. That’s Marketing 101.

You have to roll it real tight like a burrito. Otherwise it comes undone, and if it comes undone everyone boos you.

I enjoy being able to provide a fun experience for fans and something different and unique. Last year we had a Star Wars-themed night where we gave away lightsabers, had different trivia and videos that tied everything together. All of our staff gets involved and dresses up in different costumes so it makes it a lot more fun. Another favorite is our Winter Wonderland. It started off as just a small idea and this year we made it even bigger and better. Next year, I’m thinking we’ll have a fake snow machine.

We create marketing and promotional plans for all of our sports, we handle all of the advertising, giveaways and in-game promotions, we work with the video team to put up content on the video board, we work with student-athletes prior to each season on those fun videos you see during the games.

We probably work 70 hours a week during the football season. On a football game day, if we play at 7 p.m., I’ll get here at nine in the morning and be here all day setting everything up. We’re usually here from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during a game week.

Work hard and keep your head down is what my dad has always told me. Keep going, keep it moving and get your job done.

I love working with coaches and student athletes. I love it when they come by and talk about how we are marketing their program, what they can do to help. The coaches are so appreciative of what we do. The fact they want to meet with us means a lot.

I try to respond to every fan email I get. I look at it like when I’m the consumer and I email somebody about an issue, I want a response. The least you can do is respond and say thank you for reaching out, we hear you.

The thing I’m most happy with is Salute to Service. Two years ago when we put the names of fallen soldiers on the back of the jerseys, that was the best project I’ve ever worked on. We worked with Medals of Honor. We got 115 names the first year and I spoke with every single family and to hear their stories and how much it meant to them was so impactful.

I will never climb in the rafters to drop the parachutes at basketball games. Our interns do it. We rely on our interns so much. We tell them we couldn’t do what we do without them. We always tell them we would never ask them to do something we haven’t done ourselves, or that we’re not going to do right alongside of them. Except drop parachutes. I will literally never go up in the rafters. I can’t even look up at them.

I have a two-and-a-half-year-old Yorkie named Bruce, named after Bruce Springsteen.

It’s a rite of passage being from New Jersey to be a Bruce Springsteen fan. I’ve been to seven or eight of his concerts. I went to my first one for my 17th birthday. My dad took me to see him at Madison Square Garden. And then I saw his show on Broadway in December 2017. It was incredible. It was the best thing ever. It’s on Netflix now if you want to watch it.

If you’ve never seen a Springsteen show, you have to see him in New Jersey. It’s just so much better. There’s nothing like seeing it in New Jersey. Everybody there is just as infatuated. Anytime we have a family wedding or party or anything like that, we always get the band to play his song Rosalita.

Interviewed by Andrew Maraniss