Kathy Flores was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1955 to Joseph and Catherine Flores. She matriculated into East Stroudsburg University (East Stroudsburg, PA) in 1973 and graduated with a B.A. in Physical Education in 1977. During her four years there, she played basketball and ran track. It was not until she moved to Florida that she found rugby. From 1978-1994, Flores played dual roles as both captain and coach for the Florida State University Rugby Team, and was instrumental in leading the squad to Division I National Championships in 1979, 1980, 1984, and 1985. She earned a spot with the Eastern Rugby Union team in 1984 and was a mainstay with the ERU for the next 10 years.
With the creation of the USA Women’s National Team in 1985 there were more opportunities. Flores was selected to the team during its initial year and in 1987, captained Team USA during its first international match versus Canada. In 1991, she was selected to the U.S. Women’s National Team for the inaugural Women’s Rugby World Cup and led the U.S. to their first and only (to date) world title. According to Flores “I don’t know if there is any way to describe winning something that had always been a dream and something no one outside the U.S. ever thought we could do. It was so fleeting, really, the moment the whistle went off. It was jubilation and then the next day we were thinking how we could do it again in three years.”
She continued her international playing career until 1994 and then moved on to coach the Berkeley All Blues, the premier women’s team in the USA. Over the course of her time there, she led the team to 15 National Championship titles and 46 of the players she coached at Berkeley went onto represent the U.S. in international competition.
Flores has coached a diverse score of teams and found success at every level. She coached the Cal Berkeley Women’s Rugby Team from 1999-2003, leading them to their first Sweet 16s appearance in 2001. In 2009, she coached the University of San Francisco Women’s Team to first and second place finishes in the Northern California Collegiate Division II Competition. She began coaching the San Francisco FOG Men’s Rugby Team in 2010. In 2012, she led the Pacific Coast All Star Rugby Team to a National Title at the USA Rugby National All Star Competition.
Her national team coaching experience commenced in 2000 when she was appointed to the role of USA Rugby Development Officer to the Women’s National Team. In 2002, she was officially named the USA Women’s National Team head coach and served in that role until 2010. The USA finished fifth at both the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.
Flores has received many well-deserved accolades over her career. In 2000, she was named Coach of the Year by both rugbyrugby.com and the Women’s Sports Foundation. In 2003, she was the IRB Women’s Personality of the Year for her further development of women’s rugby. And in 2014, she was named the USA Rugby Coach of the Year. She has been the head coach of the Brown University Women’s Varsity Rugby Team since 2013.