- Loudoun County Public Schools
Keilty’s 500 Wins are Secondary Statistic
One of the few coaches in Virginia High School League history with more than 500 victories, Carmel Keilty measures success by another standard.
“I want to teach my players self-confidence. I want to teach them it’s important to make a mistake and move on. I want to teach them that life is short and to live every day to its fullest. Most importantly, I want to teach them to have a real sense of family and community when they go into their adult life. Family is everything, this is just one aspect of your life.
“When I started, I wanted for the program to build and for the kids to have fun. I’ve always told kids that, in the end, wins and losses don’t matter. It’s the friendships you develop along the way. Leaving kids some things to take through life with them. If a small part of me goes with them through their adulthood that, to me, is more important than 500 wins. You had an impact on their lives.”
Keilty, the head volleyball coach at Loudoun Valley High School, recently won her 500th match. She started coaching volleyball at Valley in 1986 (she also coached the Vikings in girls’ basketball and softball) and led the volleyball team to state titles in 2001 and 2002. In 2002, Keilty moved to Heritage High School, where she started the volleyball program and went to Woodgrove in 2012. (Keilty took both the Pride and Wolverines to the state tournament.)
Keilty left Woodgrove when she retired as teacher in 2019. In 2020, Loudoun Valley’s volleyball position opened. “I thought ‘Maybe it would be fun to go back and go full circle.’”
Coming back to Valley means Keilty has now coached two generations of players, including mother-daughter combination Sarah and Kayla Bolen. “To see a kid come through whose parent played the same position and to see the parent and daughter be successful is pretty special.”
As evidenced by her record, Keilty has coached many successful athletes during her long tenure.
“I’ve had some really great athletes and I think I’ve been blessed with some really good kids. The kids I’ve come across in any sports that I’ve coached have been truly – not just good athletes – but great people. In the end, when you see your former players with their children and how they interact, you know you’ve had a little bit to do with that.”
The players aren’t the only ones who learn in her program. “I learn every single day from the kids.”
Keilty said she knows how she wants her players to remember her. “That I was stern, but that I was fair. That I cared about players. That I tried to get the best out of them. I had a love for the game like they did.”
Published November 8, 2021