Local Sports, Morgantown, Sports, Women's Basketball, WVU Sports

Mark and Kayli Kellogg reflect on their inaugural hoops seasons in Morgantown

MORGANTOWN — Some things just run in the family.

For the Kelloggs, this couldn’t be more true, as WVU women’s head basketball coach Mark Kellogg and his daughter Kayli, who is finishing her freshman year at Morgantown High School, are deeply invested in the game they love, basketball.

It’s safe to say both Mark and Kayli settled into their new situations early and comfortably, which was a relief for his family, because Coach Kellogg says he hadn’t visited Morgantown before accepting the position with WVU.

“I took the job without ever visiting Morgantown,” he said. “I had an idea of what the state was about and the passion and beauty and the appeal of the college town here. I think we had a pretty good idea of what was waiting for us but you never actually know until you’re there.”

Coach Kellogg achieved a 25-8 record in his first season as head coach of the Mountaineers, the most ever by a first-year head coach in program history. He was named ESPN National Coach of the Week, and WVU was ranked in the AP poll for nine weeks of the season, including the No. 24 spot in the final poll of the season, after an NCAA tournament appearance.

Morgantown’s Kayli Kellogg (12) protects the ball from University’s Ashlyn Weaver (1) this season (William Wotring/The Dominion Post file photo).

Kayli echoed her father’s success by helping the MHS girls’ basketball team achieve a 19-9 record and secure a Region I championship. MHS earned the fourth seed in the WVSSAC State Tournament and reached the state championship game after a semifinal upset of No. 1 George Washington.

Kayli was named to the Class AAAA all-tournament team after averaging 20.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in Charleston and was the only freshman named first-team all-state after averaging 16.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.7 steals per game during the season.

“All-state was a goal for me coming in; it was special to be on the list of so many great players,” Kayli said. “Especially doing it as a freshman. I work hard to prepare myself and be ready for any moment. It was amazing to make it to the state tournament and the championship game. I got to experience everything with my team on and off the court and enjoy everything. I knew I had to step up if we wanted to be able to reach our goals and I learned a lot from the experience.”

Kayli said she had done some research before moving from Texas and knew about MHS winning the state championship in 2023 and the boys being back-to-back champions at the time, which led her and her brother, Camden, to attend MHS and join the teams.

“One of the biggest questions when you move your family is how they will adjust,” Mark said. “For a freshman, it was even more of a question. I think Kayli had some ups and downs and grew a lot. Everyone talks about the back end of her season but not all the things she went through to get to that point. It’s great to have the result but if you don’t stay the course and get through some adversity the result may never happen. I think that’s what I’m most proud of.

“And it’s the same thing for our team (WVU),” he continued. “A lot of people are talking about what we did at the end of the year and the Iowa game and not what it took to get there and what we overcame.”

Although their time together is limited during the season, Mark and Kayli still make sure to find time to talk hoops, life, or about the day.

“He gets to watch online when he can’t make it in person,” Kayli said. “We always have a conversation after games and he tells me what he saw out there to help me improve or something he noticed.”

West Virginia women’s basketball coach Mark Kellogg watches his daughter, Kayli Kellogg, play for Morgantown High girls’ basketball (William Wotring/The Dominion Post file photo).

Mark said he has always tried not to allow his family or their happiness to be defined by his position or job in hoops.

“My family is very invested in our team, maybe too invested at times,” he said with a chuckle. “I’ve always wanted my kids to have their things or stuff to do in their lives. I don’t want them to miss their activities for Coach Kellogg; most of the time if someone misses a game, it’s me. That’s the part of my job that is most difficult for me and that pulls on the heartstrings as a dad. When I make it to games I just want to be dad, honestly. I don’t sit there with a ton of emotion and just relax and support them. If Kayli wants to talk hoops afterward, we will talk hoops. But I’m not going to go straight to her to tell her what she didn’t do well.”

One thing that both Mark and Kayli said helped them during the season was how comfortable and settled they were early on after arriving in Morgantown.

“Knowing that I had people to support me and be there for me when things were going good or going bad,” Kayli said. “Moving was hard, obviously, but the people here are great and have helped every step of the way. My teammates and friends, boosters, coaches, everyone.”

“We just tried to incorporate ourselves into the community as quickly as we could and live our lives the right way and work hard,” Mark said. “I think those are some things people in this state can appreciate and gravitate towards. The school and team made it easy to transition but the community also played a huge role in that and made a huge difference for our family.”

Morgantown High and WVU alike enjoyed their first season with a member of the Kellogg family on the sideline or out on the court, and both hope that there’s a Kellogg as part of the program for as long as possible.

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