Grace Kelly: A future on the sidelines?


When you grow up the child of one of the most well-known college coaches in America, you pick up a thing or two about football. Grace Kelly is hoping to put her pigskin IQ to good use in landing her dream job someday.

"I guess I was never surrounded by the simple, I only understood the complicated x's and o's," said Grace.

Grace has grown up on the football field.

"So I have been pretty well aware of understanding the plays, understanding how they are coordinated and even communicating them to the sidelines and the quarterbacks. It's an interesting process but it's something that totally baffles me that I actually really enjoy," Grace said.

While a lot of kids spend their childhood running around on the playground, Grace was running around on the sidelines.

"I don't think I've ever gone a day without knowing anything about football. I've always been very aware of sports and it's been in our household every single day of our lives," Grace said.

"So I don't think Brian's hours have changed any when we started this 20 some years ago and I think it was hard to miss the kids games when they're older but it's almost harder when they're younger because you just don't see them. By the time he'd get home they'd be asleep. So you around quarter to 6 I'd load up the van with three kids and drive them out. The older ones would be running around with the other families kids. Grace mentioned that we're a huge football family well when there's 7-8 families with kids under the age of 6, they're a pack of rats running around practice but they love it. If there's a draw back to the time dad's at practice and at work, a perk would be the stuff they get to do that most people, if your dad is an accountant, don't get to do. So like anything else there's a give and take but they really enjoy that part," said Paqui Kelly, Grace's mom.

That family time on the practice field carried over into the living room.

"That's where it kind of started, the Sunday Night football games. The little tiny drawings on the TV where he'd be like 'this is what this person's doing and this is what this person is doing.' That's how it started and it progressed from there to whenever I went to one of his practices when I would look at his sheet and be like, 'Oh you told me what this does when we watched the Patriots that one night.' And I would understand and it grew probably every Sunday night another x and o was drawn on the board for another Patriots game," Grace said.

"She didn't want to be left out, she's like, 'What exactly are you guys talking about?' I think it made it easier when Brian was home and saying, 'Do you see that?' I think sometimes we got a little critical with the announcers saying that's not an end around. Some of that family time that I think is normal in most families, to be quite honest, they talk about the game and if it is football and we probably go into a little more detail than some other people," Paqui said.

She has put her coaching skills to the test. Once she even drew up a play on her dad's erase board in the team offices.

"I think I made a play called 'Think Pink' and I thought I was the most innovative person ever and I created the best play. He kept it on the board and he erased it I think two or three weeks later but I think he incorporated into one of his practices once and I thought that was like the coolest thing ever," Grace said.

What was the play, 'Think Pink?'

"I think I made it for my mom. I was 10 years old and I was so proud of myself. I think it was a quarterback sneak to the left, and two wide receivers doing a fake out right to the left, And I thought it was so innovative and I thought I was going to be the next head coach I guess," Grace said.

And her love of football combined with her love of the spotlight has led her into a possible career path.

"I think she's a combo kid. She does more of the public speaker, she loves the stage, we knew that right away," Paqui said.

"When I learned I can incorporate both sports, which I love, into television I was like that's exactly what I want to do with my life," Grace said. "I think I want to maybe start local, do some internships here at ABC and do some field reporting."

So that's what we did. We put her to work on the sidelines and gave her a shot to interview Notre Dame's National Championship winning women's basketball Coach Muffet McGraw.

The answers McGraw gave Grace were good, but it was the advice she offered after the interview that really resonated.

Grace said she would love to interview her father someday, but she draws the most inspiration from her mother.

"Although I want to do something different and be the one that's asking the questions, she definitely set a mold to not be afraid of expressing who you are and giving to the community, so everyone can know that you're making a difference, even though she doesn't like to say that she's making a difference, but she is and I think that's really special," Grace said.

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