|Alma Mater:||Colorado State '08|
Kelly Rae Finley is in her fourth season as an assistant women's basketball coach as she was hired by head coach Linda Lappe on May 18, 2012. She serves as Colorado’s recruiting coordinator and also coaches the wing position.
Finley has helped Colorado to at least 15 wins in all three seasons on the Buffaloes’ bench with an overall record of 59-39.
During her time on the Colorado bench, the Buffaloes have participated in the 2013 NCAA Tournament and the 2014 Postseason WNIT. Colorado was ranked among the nation’s best for large portions of her first two seasons, reaching as high as No. 11 (Associated Press) and No. 14 (USA Today/WBCA) during the 2013-14 season and No. 18 (both polls) in 2012-13.
On the court, her wings had a fantastic 2014-15 season. Colorado led the Pac-12 and ranked eighth in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage, with a large portion coming from the quartet of Jasmine Sborov, Haley Smith, Lauren Huggins and Alina Hartmann who combined to hit 38 percent from long range.
As the recruiting coordinator, she’s helped Colorado to establish a strong foothold not only in the Pac-12 footprint, but nationally and worldwide. Her first recruiting class in 2013 hit a pair of Pac-12 states in Washington and California, while reaching out to Virginia. Class number two hit California once again, while revisiting Texas, historically an important area for Colorado recruiting, and the Buffaloes’ first international recruit in six years.
The Class of 2015 contains a quartet that spans four states, showing once again Colorado’s national reach in recruiting. The Buffaloes pulled two players from Big 12 country, one from the Southeast and another from a Big Ten stronghold. ProspectsNation.com tabbed this class the 23rd best in the country on signing day in November 2014.
Finley, 30, arrived at Colorado after four years on the staff at Harvard University (2008-12); the last three as a full-time assistant coach. The Crimson posted a 75-41 mark in her four seasons in Cambridge including four second place Ivy League finishes – a record of 42-14 - and three Postseason WNIT appearances.
At Harvard, Finley was the recruiting coordinator, signing a class in 2011 that was ranked 31st in the nation by ESPN including the Ivy League’s first McDonald’s All-American in Temi Fagbenle. She coached 12 All-Ivy League players and coordinated player development with an emphasis on the forward position.
Off the court Finley was Harvard women’s basketball’s liaison for equipment management, community outreach coordinator and was an active participant at alumni events. She was a Harvard Faculty Affiliate with the Leverett House, an upperclass dorm. Finley also continued her education with graduate studies in organizational leadership & non-profit management through the Harvard University Extension School.
Finley graduated cum laude from Colorado State University in 2008 with her bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies. She was a two-year letterwinner for the Rams and was a Mountain West Conference Scholar-Athlete Award winner in 2008. She played one year for Lappe, who was a CSU assistant in 2006-07. Finley began her collegiate career at Northwestern University where she lettered in 2004-05.
She was involved with Boys and Girls Clubs of Fort Collins and Chicago as well as a representative on the Student Athletic Advisory Committee and a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).
A native of Minneapolis, Finley was a three-year team captain for The Breck School, helping her team to a Minnesota Class 2A State Championship in 2004, runner-up finish in 2003 and a third-place showing in 2002. Her AAU team, the Minnesota Metro Stars won the Nike Showcase championship in Chicago in 2003.
Finley began her coaching career in her native state, as an assistant with her former AAU team from 2005-07. She coached the 12U, 13U and 16U teams, developing game schemes and practice plans while assisting with tournament organization and coordination. Finley also served as the MN Hardball basketball camp director from 2007-08, engaged in all aspects of the organization’s functions.