Jan. 28, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. -
The parents and guardians of the over 550 student-athletes at NC State can breathe a sigh of relief. They have a mom away from home looking after their nutritional and dietary needs.
Kate Kirby, the school’s first full-time Director of Nutrition, has been on the job since early September. Her schedule has been filled with long hours of planning and counseling athletes and coaches about nutrition and diet.
Kirby not only meets with all of the Pack's sports teams collectively, but also counsels athletes individually - especially those who may have special dietary needs. For example, student-athletes with medical issues such as diabetes are given specific instructions on nutrition and diet.
Kirby said it is important for all student-athletes “to be educated on nutrition in order to achieve peak performance” – and that sometimes it is difficult for them to focus on it due to their tight schedules of academics and athletics.
“My job is to help these athletes do a better job at what they do,” Kirby emphasized.
She also is responsible for supervising the planning of training table meals at Case Academic Center and the Murphy Football Center.
Kirby is a certified specialist in sports dietetics, a certified personal trainer and registered with the Commission of Dietetic Registration. She is also a member of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dieticians of America, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Sports Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition (the dietetic practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics).
Kirby always knew she would return to the world of college athletics after being away from that environment. Her father, Neil Callaway, was a college coach, most recently at Alabama-Birmingham.
“With my dad coaching college football, our family moved about every four years,” she continued. “Many of my friends thought I was a military brat, but I was no stranger to college athletics.”
Those moves included living in towns near universities like Wyoming, Auburn, Houston, Alabama, and Georgia as her father learned his trade. He was an assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and linebacker coach before taking the head-coaching job at UAB.
Kirby, who played volleyball, track, and softball in high school, went on to obtain undergraduate and graduate degrees in nutrition/food science and sports nutrition at Auburn.
She began her career as a student trainer at her alma mater and also worked as a dietitian for the UAB program and as a graduate assistant sports dietitian with the Auburn athletics program.
Afterwards, Kirby ventured into the outside world of private business with Forte Food & Fitness as a performance dietitian and fitness instructor, and in the Mobile (Ala.) County Health Department in the position of a registered dietitian.
Taking the job at NC State brought Kirby in touch with a former neighbor when her father was an assistant at Alabama. Pack basketball coach Mark Gottfried lived down the street from the Callaway family when he held the Crimson Tide head job.
As State’s first full time Director of Nutrition, Kirby is looking forward to constructing a first-class blueprint for success, which can be a model for NC State Athletics for years to come.
And she’s extremely grateful to be at NC State.
“I knew all along that I would have a connection with college athletics,” said Kirby. “Outside of it, I didn’t feel right. There is so much potential in the program here.”
So with Kate Kirby at the nutritional controls, NC State parents and guardians can rest easy when it’s time to eat.