When Kaylee Moss had her collegiate wrestling career pinned by concussions, she found herself grappling with her future. Today, thanks to the help of Montreat College, she has raised herself off the mat and stands with her arm raised as an undeniable champion coach and educator.

Following her graduation from high school in 2018, Moss enrolled at Emmanuel University in Franklin Springs, Georgia, on a wrestling scholarship. At Emmanuel, she switched her major from kinesiology to education and back to kinesiology. Her plans were also complicated by injuries and COVID.

“I couldn’t have any more concussions and still compete, so I came back home to Dahlonega and went to the University of North Georgia (UNG) for a year during COVID when it was all online,” said Moss. “I was studying kinesiology at UNG when they went back to in-person learning full-time. During that time, I had gotten a job as a paraprofessional in a middle school, and I didn’t want to quit my job. I was looking for online programs, but I was just so lost. I didn’t know what to do. It seemed like there wasn’t a kinesiology program online that I could do, and I didn’t want to start all over again.”

In her search for the right school, she remembered that a former wrestling coach had moved to Montreat College along with an athlete she knew who had followed him to Western North Carolina. Much to her surprise, she discovered that Montreat College had exactly the right program for her with its online kinesiology undergraduate program through Montreat’s School of Adult and Graduate Studies (AGS). On top of that, Montreat accepted a significant portion of her transfer credits.

“I looked, and it’s been the best kinesiology program. It also became the best college experience that I had,” declared Moss, who graduated from Montreat College in December 2023. “They took a ton of my credits, and I was able to finish everything up in a year at Montreat. I was only taking one or two classes at a time, so it wasn’t overwhelming, even though I was working full-time. I got married, bought a house, and did all that while I was going to college. That wouldn’t have happened in a lot of other places.”

The flexibility of Montreat’s program with eight-week courses was something Moss definitely appreciated during her bachelor’ studies.

“I would 100% recommend Montreat College because of its flexibility. You just have to do your work,” she said. “Most of my professors would also post the full plan for the eight weeks, so I could look ahead and get an idea of what my schedule was going to look like. I don’t like surprises.”

In addition, she enjoyed the smaller class sizes that allowed her to connect individually with her professors, in particular Dr. Meaghan Howard, an assistant professor of kinesiology at Montreat College.

“She made me better,” Kaylee raved. “She was tough and wanted to push me beyond where I was. She would challenge me to really think deeply and have thoughtful discussions. She always wanted to help me in any way, and she even wrote recommendation letters for me after I graduated.”

Moss has already passed her GACE exam (Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators), which certifies her to teach in the Peach State. Now with her degree in hand, her goal is to find a full-time job next school year teaching health, physical education, or life science at the middle school level.

“I’m certified in all middle-grade science, but it’s just about when and where an opening becomes available,” she said. “Once I get a teaching job, I can start an M.A.T. (Master of Arts in Teaching) program to get my teaching certificate. However, I can only teach provisionally at certain schools like charter schools. I can teach there and work on my master’s. That’s what I’m hoping for because the para pay is not the greatest, and I don’t think I can start a master’s program with this pay.”

In addition to her current position as a paraprofessional, Kaylee has returned to the gym at 706wrestling in Dawsonville, Georgia, where she has served as a girls’ coach for four years.

Wrestling is my life,” she admitted. “I wrestled for 10 years, and I still want to be around the sport. Because of my previous concussions, this is the only way that I can be around the sport. I enjoy being around the kids and helping them wrestle, and I get to wrestle with them a little bit without giving myself another concussion.”

She’s also excited to help grow the sport of wrestling for girls. Traditionally a male-dominated sport, wrestling has become the fastest-growing sport in the country for girls. According to the National Wrestling Coaches Association, the number of girl wrestlers has grown from less than 1,000 in 1994 to more than 50,000 today.

“Every tournament I went to growing up, I was the only girl,” she said. “In high school, I was the only girl wrestler on a team with all the boys, so it’s amazing for me to see full teams of girls in Georgia.”

Today as a coach, Kaylee loves empowering and supporting her wrestlers to never give up, an attitude she has maintained from her own wrestling days and proven through completing her kinesiology degree at Montreat College.

“Some people are in coaching for the wrong reasons, and they’re trying to relive their high school career,” she said. “That’s not what coaching is about. It’s about supporting the kids and giving them the knowledge and the skills to go out there and perform.”