Industry Leaders

Women’s History Month: Celebrating Kanoe Bandy

kbandy spry women history month

Spry is thrilled to celebrate the many successful women in the sport industry. We are proud to work with many of these women and can’t wait to share their stories and successes with you.

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Kanoe Bandy, Athletic Director at Taft College and CCCAA Board Member.   And while a career in intercollegiate athletics was not her original plan, Kanoe has spent her entire career coaching and leading the Taft College athletic department. Below, please read a summary of our conversation, with answers written and provided by Kanoe Bandy.

What inspired you to want to pursue a career in intercollegiate athletics?

I did not intend to work in intercollegiate athletics.    When I got married I needed a job.  I was a former student athlete and assistant coach at Taft College so I was asked if I would like to coach the volleyball team and teach part time in the Business department.  Of course I said yes.  What I found was that I could coach.   I had instincts that I didn’t know that I had.   I was mentored by all of the great coaches on our campus including my own husband Don Bandy who was an assistant football and head softball coach at the time.  Later my sister joined me as an assistant coach. The significance is that she taught me the “passion of the game”.  As a result, I spent 34 years coaching volleyball at Taft College.  25 of those years I was also the Athletic Director.  I am grateful for the opportunity to do something that has been so rewarding.

 Who were your role models growing up?  

“My mom was my first role model growing up.  She was a teacher who began in the 1960’s.  She was a strong woman who taught me the value of hard work.” 

If you could share one bit of advice with tomorrow’s future leaders, what would it be?

When asked about sharing advice with tomorrow’s leaders, Kanoe shared several philosophies that she lives by:

  • Don’t ask your students or coaches to do anything you are not willing to do.
  • Don’t just be satisfied, Be an overachiever.
  • Don’t ever get outworked.
  • Be positive.
  • Accomplish something in your day, every day.
  • There are always teaching moments and lessons to be learned.
  • Be the team player you would want  next to you in competition.

This was a big one for me early in my career:  Since I am in a male dominated profession, I found a couple of very positive male mentors that didn’t know it, but they were helping me to  navigate through the system.  The right mentor is so important.

 The best advice you’ve ever received is:  

Life is short.  Enjoy the moment.

Finish the sentence, the best part of my job is 

Knowing that I am helping students be successful.  I want to give back because so many took a chance on me as a student athlete when I was young.  I had no intention of going to college. Athletics changed my life.

Read the next article in Spry’s Women’s History Month series: Celebrating Sue Harriman, Director of Athletics and Recreation at University of California, Santa Cruz

Lyle Adams


Lyle was a member of the 2007 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship team at Wake Forest. After embarking on a professional soccer career, Lyle transitioned to the tech industry, where he was one of the first 100 employees at Uber, designing platforms and tools for data consumers. Lyle also holds a Master’s in Sports Management from Columbia University.