Dick Harmon: Former BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy’s parents recall Patriot linebacker’s journey to second Super Bowl



New England Patriot centre linebacker Kyle Van Noy’s journey to the Super Bowl hasn’t consistently been easy, but it launched from a foundation that has never let him down.

As Layne and Kelly Van Noy endured in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport this week waiting for their son’s wife, Marissa, to arrive, they reflected on the life of their second son, who will play in his second Super Bowl on Sunday.

It hasn’t consistently been easy, but it’s been a sponsored affair by a couple who prayed to have Kyle in their lives and, as adoptive parents, have had his back from the first time they grasped him in their arms.

Layne remembers when Kyle was merely 4 and they were playing whiffle ball in the backyard. Layne was pitching and Kyle was hitting. He had a perfect athletic swing, and his reflexes and reaction were textbook with the steps he took. After Kyle bump a pitch, his dad asked him to go get the ball, thinking it would be fantastic exercise for him.

“No, you get it,” stated Kyle.

“No, you go get it,” stated the dad.

“You get it,” retorted Kyle.

“Why don’t you go get it?” stated the dad.

In the end, Layne went and retrieved the ball and pitched it again, and Kyle bump it.

“So, we had a stalemate at 4 years long-established on who was going to go get the whiffle ball,” stated Layne. “It was kind of an indication of his teenage years, he was pretty headstrong.”

One of Kelly’s favorite Kyle stories is the standoff she had with her son over going to an LDS youth conference when he was in high school. One of the speakers was then-BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall.

“We ended up in a true conversation. His concluding comment was, ‘I’m not going to youth conference and I’m not going to BYU.’ My concluding assert was, ‘Right now, I don’t care if you go to BYU, but you are going to youth conference.’ He ended up doing both.”

It changed the trajectory of his life.

“He recognizes the financial worth of listening to his parents for the best part,” stated Layne. “Kids, in general, don’t want you to think they are listening to your advice, but, in reality, it goes into their hearts more than we believe.”

In the stadium Sunday, Layne, and Kelly will look on at their handiwork, a son playing on the world’s biggest stage. A symbolic Patriot group of sorts to them, a franchise known for signing unique pieces and making them fit the puzzle.

“We think it’s amazing,” stated his mother, Kelly. “It’s a vision come true, and he’s excited. He has a bigger role this year, and he’s worked difficult for this.”

Added Layne, “We’re definitely veterans, going into our second trip to the Super Bowl. These are once-in-a-lifetime experiences like everyone says they are. And now it’s a twice-in-a-lifetime experience. We are looking forward to it.”

Kelly reflected back when she and Layne sent in an application to adopt with LDS Family Services and waited five weeks for the telephone call that there was a child for them.They were living in California at the time, and the baby was in Nevada.

“The stage we saw him and grasped him, we understood he was our child,” stated Kelly.

The couple decided from the start they would be upfront and truthful about Kyle’s origins in this world, that he was adopted. “We didn’t think there was a magical time that he was told, we’ve consistently explained who he was and that we love him,” stated Kelly.

The Van Noy adoption was a blind arrangement; they’ve never met the birth mother.

“He realizes what we fathom about his biological parents,” she said. “We read a little about his birth mother but had little advice about his father. Kyle has never signified a curiosity about it.”

BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy poses concurrently news day in Provo on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Early, the Van Noys recognized a competitive spirit, size, speed and passion in Kyle. Layne was in charge of the city’s recreation programs and handpicked that ones Kyle would participate in. He played from guys a year or two older than him. When his older brother would play on a basketball team, concurrently timeouts, Kyle wasn’t shy at all about running on the court and shooting hoops.


“When you looked at him as a young child, you can tell by his physique that Kyle had agility and coordination, that he had a few God-given talent. He had a six-pack at 4-years-old,” stated Layne.

In an economy of words to describe their son, Kelly offered: ”Determined, loyal and honest.”

“Those are good,” stated Layne. “A headline would be something like ‘He’s been over a few challenges that are well-documented, and he’s overcome all of them.’ He’s overcome obstacles and is true resilient. We all confront obstacles in life, but he says to himself, ‘OK, I’m not going to let these pitfalls in life hold me back.’”

A huge assist in his life is his wife, Marissa, a past Miss Utah and third runner-up to Miss USA.

Former BYU football player Kyle Van Noy watches the game with his wife Marissa concurrently the West Coast Conference Championships in Las Vegas Saturday, March 8, 2014. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Said Layne, “She has taken over; she is the parent now.”

Kelly calls Marissa “the best thing that can ever happen” to Kyle.

“She understands his strengths and his weaknesses. She is beside him and dedicated to him and supports him in every aspect of his life.”

Layne: “She is a calming influence for Kyle. She understands him, and, when she gives him that look, he reacts to it and respects it and takes it into context. Nine times out of 10 it changes what he’s saying, doing or the way he’s acting.”

The Van Noys are moving to Utah this summer but currently have made a pit stop in Lodi, California, to care for Layne’s mother.

This journey to Minneapolis may have been a few thousand miles, but it has taken the Van Noys over multiple realms in this world.

It is not missed on them that Kyle’s birth mother had other choices but instead chose to fulfil Kyle into this world and place him in the arms of loving parents who would do anything they can to make his life a success. Nobody realizes what struggles this woman had. This unnamed, unknown mother may be watching the Super Bowl on Sunday and have no idea who Kyle Van Noy is. But she did choose life.

Kelly remembers upon Kyle’s arrival in their life, LDS Family Services provided them with a CD titled: “From God’s Arms to My Arms to Yours.”

It is so.

“That is part of Kyle’s journey,” stated Layne. “ It’s been a blessing for all of us.”


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