M-S girls' soccer alum Kelsie Donley Briggs becomes head coach of the program

If you had asked Kelsie Donley Briggs if she wanted to be the varsity girls' soccer coach at Mahomet-Seymour, you would have heard a resounding "Yes!"

Except she would have followed that up with reasons why she couldn't take the job.

"I just own a salon, and I have a little daughter at home," Briggs said. "I was worried about getting too much on my plate at first."

When legendary varsity girls' soccer coach Joey Gruner retired at the end of last season, the position came open. Briggs decided to throw her hat in the ring, and on Aug. 21, Briggs was officially awarded the job.

"I coached at Parkland, which was awesome, but I don't think it holds a candle to coaching your high school team," Briggs said. "It was amazing."

Briggs played basketball, volleyball and soccer for M-S from 2006 to 2010. She was a good overall athlete, but she shined on the pitch. In 2009, The News-Gazette named Briggs the Area Player of the Year. She received a full ride to Parkland College to play soccer, and Briggs played for the Cobras for a couple of years.

Briggs served as the M-S junior varsity coach last season, which helped her get even more familiarity with the program.

"It was really good to coach under Coach Gruner for one year," Briggs said. "He's done amazing things for the program and it was awesome to watch him."

"He's so organized," she added. "He's so smart and knowledgeable about the game. I really think it was a great thing to be here for one year and see the direction that the program is moving."

Briggs and Gruner both have the same goals of furthering the program to higher heights, but they couldn't be more different on the field. Gruner is quiet and poised, but Briggs will bring plenty of energy to the sidelines.

"Obviously, we're going to continue to do what Coach Gruner has done," Briggs said. "He's done nothing but great things. He's like a silent motivator — a silent killer. You know he means business, but you never hear him yell. It takes so much to get him fired up. For me, I'm a little more fired up easily."

Briggs has new ideas for some annual traditions that she wants to bring to the M-S girls' soccer program.

She helped set up the alumni game, and that will be a staple of her program as she hopes to continue to unite both past and present players.

"I think it's an awesome way to grow the following and support of the soccer program," Briggs added.

Briggs was born and raised in Mahomet, and her love for the town and the school is evident.

As a former player, Briggs is invested into the Bulldogs girls' soccer program. But as the head coach, she can continue to help the program grow even more.

"I keep telling my husband, it'll hit me every now or then. I'll just be sitting there, and I'll be like, 'Oh my gosh, I can't believe I'm leading this program,'" Briggs said. "When athletic director, Matt Hensley, emailed me and said, 'We're so excited to have you lead the program,' that sentence made my heart drop. It's really incredible. It's an honor. I'm so thankful and I won't ever take it for granted."

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