Kennedi Myles impact at Marquette goes beyond the court

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Photo by Keifer Russell

Kennedi Myles (44) driving to the basket in Marquette women’s basketball’s 75-55 win over Holy Cross Nov. 11.

Kennedi Myles has begun her second year on the women’s basketball team as a “sparkplug” inside and outside of the Al McGuire Center.

“She’s in such a better place mentally and physically, the biggest thing is she has just been a stat-stuffer for us in practice, now we just need that to translate to a game,” head coach Megan Duffy said. “She’s very comfortable with her role and that’s going to be the spark off the bench and the bruiser inside, just watching her accept that is pretty cool.”

Prior to Marquette, Myles spent the first two years of her college career at the University of Illinois. While at Illinois, Myles did much more than play basketball, as she was a key member of the Big Ten Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition.

Now, with the Golden Eagles, the Ohio native continues her passion for advocacy and activism in Milwaukee.

“One thing that people really don’t talk about (at Marquette) is being able to fit in the mental capacity that it takes to be in as a place that you really don’t see many people that are like you. I’ve talked to people outside of the sports and many majors, you don’t see people that are like you,” Myles said. “I think that’s a conversation that some people don’t even know about until they actually step on campus. So then they have a rude awakening.”

Myles is currently a member of Marquette’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee program, where she uses her voice and experience to give insight into the student-athlete experience and overall input about campus.

Using her voice on and off the court is something Myles is well-known for on the team.

“Kennedi is never one to shy away from any conversation. Anytime there’s a topic when we do team building or team conversations, she’s never one to be shy about what her opinion is, what her experiences are,” assistant coach Justine Raterman said. “She’s been through so much. She’s experienced a lot of different things, which is what makes her voice so strong.”

For Myles, one way of using her voice is by participating in social activism, a passion that stems from her past and present community service.

“I’ve always done things outside of my sport. I’ve been in a program called Jack and Jill, which is a give-back program. I’ve always done community service too,” Myles said. “Every Christmas our family does community service, whether that be going to the homeless shelter or everybody in the family gives money to a cause. We always are trying to find ways to help out while understanding the values and gratitude that I have for myself, but also being able to give that out to others.”

Like Myles’ family, her team also is always looking for ways to be involved in community service. Duffy’s squad works with the Milwaukee community to make connections and positively impact young players.

On the campus level, Myles works beyond her basketball skills as she utilizes her own experiences to advocate for students of color.

“We are a minority race and minority group of people. So there’s different things that we have to deal with, have to face,” Myles said. “I think that there’s better ways that conversations can be brought up and better ways to make people of color feel included and welcomed at these institutions.”

Myles speaks from her own values, which she said were “instilled by her family.”

“My family plays a large role in who I am. From a young age they’ve emphasized life outside of basketball,” Myles said.

As a senior, Myles has already kickstarted her next move for life outside of college, as she hopes to pursue a career as an athletic director.

“I’m currently doing an internship right now with Sarah Bobert (of Marquette Athletics) because that’s the position that I would like to be in once I leave college,” Myles said. “I think with the position it’s useful being that voice as being a prior student-athlete as well as being a woman of color.”

The role of an athletic director has deep roots in Myles’ family, as her grandfather, Bill Myles, was an assistant football coach and later an associate athletics director at Ohio State.

“It’s awesome that athletic directing is something that she wants to pursue. I think we need more strong Black females to pave the way for more people in that type of role and in that type of leadership position,” Raterman said. “It’s something that with her background and her family, she knew she wanted to do it and now she has had the opportunity to intern with Marquette this semester and I think her eyes have really been opened in a really positive way.”

Even while preparing for the future, Myles keeps her present focus on the court.

“Being that I’m a senior, I just want to be that voice and be able to lead in that way on the court,” Myles said. “Coming in every day, ready to work, ready to give my teammates all that I have and learning from our losses, learning from our wins as well.”

This article was written by Ava Mares. She can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @avamaresMU.