Memorial held for late coach Nancy Kelly

A memorial for former softball coach Nancy Kelly took place at the softball stadium Saturday, Aug. 30, at 10 a.m. It helped remember the life of Kelly and her contributions to the sports program at Cerritos College.

The memorial was organized by the president’s office at Cerritos College and Kelly’s family.

People who took part in the memorial were treated to food and drinks. The Cerritos College Foundation was also accepting donations for the Nancy Kelly Academic Scholarship.

Various speakers – including recipients of her scholarship and people she mentored – at the memorial shared their thoughts and cherished moments about Kelly.

Pamela Sokolik-Putnam played with Kelly from 1974 to 1976. She was the first woman at Cerritos College to receive an academic scholarship because of Kelly and has known her for almost 40 years.

“I’m just expecting a lot of respect for Nancy. She has done so much for so many people. I wouldn’t have gone to a four-year college if it wasn’t for her,” said Sokolik-Putnam.

Sokolik-Putnam described her as an incredible person and sports-woman.

Kelly talked about winning with integrity and honesty, a lesson that has carried on in Sokolik-Putnam’s life.

Lisa Henderson, family member of Kelly, described that her love for sports carried on to the family.

“She was so loving and fun. She had a kick of watching my kids growing up and having them involved with baseball. She just loved knowing what they were doing, she was a bright light.”

Henderson said that Kelly loved being a part of Cerritos College as a teacher and a coach. She liked influencing the students in a positive way so they can be good citizens.

“She left a great legacy. It’s just really inspiring to see that Nancy Kelly lives on through Cerritos College,” said Henderson.

Crystall Perky, catcher, talked about how Kelly would support the team even though she retired from coaching.

“I know Nancy Kelly was a very good coach and she was pretty cool. She would come out to a lot of our games and support. She was always out here showing love, she was a good woman.”

Kodee Murray, coach of the softball team, met coach Kelly 13 years ago when she first started coaching.

Murray said that Kelly would always be involved, meeting every player on her team. This year’s team will be the first team that Kelly won’t be able to meet in person.

However, Murray brought out the team to know the story and accomplishments of the legendary coach.

Kelly was always giving back to the team by volunteering her own time and money to improve the softball team, according to Murray.

She was there to witness the softball team win the state championship in 2008. She always contributed to the school since she first started working here.

“Coach Kelly is just an amazing person for what she has given to the program. She’s a true Falcon,” said Murray.

Steve Richardson, executive of the Cerritos College Foundation, said she essentially built the softball program here at Cerritos College.

Richardson said that his relationship with her spans about 14 to 15 years. She was involved with the golf tournament that they both held every year. She served on the golf committee and had golf-committee breakfasts with him.

“She loved teaching, she loved the students, she loved donating back her time and money to make this field what it is today,” said Richardson.

He added, “ There is no better place to celebrate her memory than here.”

Kelly was the first female coach in Cerritos College history. The Nancy Kelly Field was named after her on Feb. 22, 2001.

She led the softball team to five south coast conference championships, 15 Southern California Regional Playoffs and a state championship in 1978.

She totaled 502 career wins.