For Kelly Kennedy, life was always a competition. She grew up in a verbally abusive home with ten siblings including seven brothers and three sisters.
When Kelly was young, sports and in particular basketball, were an outlet for her. It was a place of safety and a place to get away from the chaos that was happening at home.
"It was my happy place. It gave me peace from the home inside that was tumultuous," Kennedy explains.
Kennedy ended up going on to play high school basketball and eventually college-level basketball.
"When I was in college, I started working basketball camps. I worked at these camps that were top notch and the who's who of the basketball world was involved in these camps," said Kennedy. "I just loved it. I got to coach and play with players at a higher level."
This eventually led her down the road of coaching where she spent 13 years coaching at the college level. She started her journey at Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX and broke into Division I as a graduate assistant at the University of Oregon. From there she spent 3 years at TCU and then on to Iowa State, where she helped the Cyclones to 3 NCAA Appearances, finishing in the Sweet 16 twice. She then went on to fulfill her dream of becoming a Division I Head Basketball Coach at the University of Akron.
"I was the head coach there for four years," said Kelly. "I took over a program that was really the worst in the country. To fix that you had to go through a lot to make the program respectable. We were doing things to prepare the team, but the wins just weren't happening."
A month later, with a year left on her contract, Kennedy had a meeting with her athletic director who told her that she had the option to resign or be fired.
She resigned and had no clue what to do with her life. She says it was at that moment her life felt as if it had been destroyed.
Kelly went on to spend the next eight years working as an entrepreneur as she dealt with the shame she was still feeling.
It was a business conference that she attended during that time that changed her life for good.
"The instructor at one point says, 'how do you answer to your boss?' and out loud I responded with, 'what if you don't have a boss?' She looked at me and pointed at the sky and said that's your number one problem."
It was at this point Kelly was brought to her knees. She says she spent the next six years building a relationship with God.
She has now taken her experience and put it into a new book, Broken to Bold: The Journey of a Rise to the Top, a Major Fall and a Revelation of Truth.
Today on Connections, Kelly Kennedy shares her amazing story of triumph, defeat and redemption.