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Roommates. Lifelong best friends. High school classmates. Mighty Macs teammates.
All of those words—and more—describe Kelly Brown and Brianna Duffin, who both graduated from Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield, PA (which won three Philadelphia Catholic League championships during their time there) and then from Immaculata in May 2012.
Best friends since childhood who both happened to be excellent basketball players, it was actually not planned that the women attend college together.
“It ended up just happening that way,” said Duffin, who is from Chadds Ford, PA. “I was looking at Immaculata and some other places as well, and so was Kelly. We actually didn’t set out to attend college together. It just happened that way. ” But once on campus, the pair of four-year Mighty Macs were also roommates for four years.
“My experience at Immaculata was really fun,” said Brown, a resident of Glen Mills, PA. “I’m actually kind of sad I graduated. I liked the smaller classes at Immaculata, and that I knew all of my teachers and could get one-on-one time with them when I needed it. It was a comfortable place.”
Both women say one of the things they miss most about their days as college students is being on the basketball team.
Brown said, “I miss basketball a lot. It was a lot of work, but it was also so much fun. The girls on the team became my closest friends. We were always doing fun things together, and the team took great trips. We did really well the four years we were there, too.”
Duffin majored in education and is now certified in elementary, early childhood and special education. Her current position as an instructional aide at a charter school in Exton, PA has her placed in a kindergarten class, and the schedule, she said, allows her to coach girl’s basketball at Great Valley High School.
“I did my student teaching in a second grade class and just fell in love with those kids,” she said, “but I’m in love with the kindergartners I have right now, too.”
Meanwhile, Brown, who earned a degree in exercise science with a minor in psychology, has returned to the Immaculata campus, this time as a member of the staff.
“I am working as assistant to the athletic director, Patty Canterino, who is also the women’s basketball coach,” she said. “My position includes a variety of administrative duties. I handle the bills, contact officials and put together directions, meal money and contact information for all of the sports teams. I’ve been enjoying it and learning a lot so far.”
The position is a part-time, 10-month job, she noted, which has her considering “taking graduate classes in sports management or maybe administrative management, which would also have to do with sports.” And Brown doesn’t rule out the possibility of returning to her beloved basketball as a coach some day in the future.
Duffin said, “When we were Immaculata students, basketball was our main priority, as far as extracurricular activities. We had a ball—going to Immaculata was such a great experience. Our other roommates were also players, and with the team we got to play in some great places, like in the Bahamas and at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Those were amazing experiences.”
And now that the two women don’t find themselves in each other’s company around-the-clock?
“We’ve both moved back home,” Duffin said, adding, “But we’re five minutes away from each other.”