Gerlach will enter her second season as the assistant coach of the Navy women's golf program.
During the introductory 2012-13 season, Gerlach helped the Midshipmen to a third-place finish at the inaugural Patriot League Championships, despite having the services of no recruited athletes. The finish showed that Navy will become a force in the Patriot League in no time at all, as freshman Renata Bucher led the Midshipmen in stroke average, while four of the six competing golfers will return for Navy's second varsity season.
Gerlach has also hit the ground running on the recruiting trail, landing commitments from several student-athletes that will help Navy continue its push to the top of the Patriot League.
"I am excited to have Kelly join our program. She brings strong experience from Southern Illinois University and her enthusiasm and passion for the game will be a great asset to the Navy Women's Golf program," said head coach Nadia Ste-Marie.
"I am excited and humbled for the opportunity to be part of the United States Naval Academy women's golf program. I am eager to be part of the traditions, customs and honor of the Academy and look forward to helping Coach Ste-Marie build a program that is both competitive on the golf course and maintains the high level of academic leadership expected at the Naval Academy," said Gerlach.
Gerlach, a Sparta, Ill., native, is a 2007 graduate of Southern Illinois University where she earned a bachelor's degree in political science and a master's degree in public administration. While at SIU, she served as a two-time captain of the women's golf team, leading the Salukis to the 2007 Missouri Valley Conference title and a berth in the NCAA Championships.
As a freshman in 2004, Gerlach won the Missouri Valley Conference individual title and earned All-MVC honors all four seasons of competition. She was a two-time Academic All-American (2007 and 2008) and was a three-time member of the Missouri Valley Conference All-Scholar Team. She was also named to the Missouri Valley Conference All-Centennial Team, which honored the top 20 golfers in conference history.
Following her career at SIU, Gerlach began a career in public policy that included positions in both state and federal government as well as the private sector, which precipitated her move to Washington, D.C.
Along with duties as assistant coach for the women's program, Gerlach will also serve as an assistant professional at the United States Naval Academy Golf Club.
Kelly and her husband, Ben Hovland, reside in Washington, D.C.