PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)– A Bay High School Athletics alumna who won a Track and Field State Championship for the discus in 1981 is still representing the school and city in a big way.
Kelly Landry Mehrtens has been named the new Executive Director of The Trust. The Trust is powered by the NFLPA. The organization is a set of resources designed to provide eligible former players with the support, skills, and tools to help ensure success in life after football.
“For our organization to be there to support them in various ways, I’m very humbled to have this particular opportunity,” Mehrtens said.
Mehrtens said she has enjoyed sports since she was very young. Along with track and field, she played basketball, volleyball, and basketball for the Tornadoes.
Following high school, she ran track and field at the University of Alabama. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the university in 1986. She earned a master’s degree in higher education from the University of Illinois in 2001.
Prior to her time at The Trust, Mehrtens served as the Deputy Athletic Director and Chief Operating Officer at the University of Maryland. Mehrtens also served as Director of Athletics at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, prior to her tenure at Maryland. She led the UNCW athletics department after previously serving in leadership roles at the University of Kansas, the University of Illinois, the University of Miami, and Northeastern University.
She said the characteristics she gained as an athlete pushed her to press on to her career goals as a woman in the sports industry.
“I like a challenge, I don’t mind keeping score, being held accountable you know not just for my actions, but what I’m doing and I think that helped ground me,” she said.
She has had the chance to work with several other former Bay County athletes throughout her career. One who was playing football at the University of Maryland while she was on staff went to Deane Bozeman School, a campus that was news to Mehrtens at the time. When she was in school she only played against Mosley and Rutherford.
“I had to go online like, ok, where is this school because at the time I only was aware of the three high schools,” Mehrtens said.
The former Tornado said the adversity athletes at all levels are currently facing will help them be successful in their future careers.
“That perseverance and that resilience that’s very key,” she said.
Bay High School has Mehrtens featured in a track and field trophy case in the schools’ hallway.