Mike Kelly (gridiron football)

Mike Kelly (born February 11, 1958) is an American gridiron football coach and former player, scout, and executive. He served as the head football coach at Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia from 1997 to 1999 and Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania from 2014 to 2018. In 2009, Kelly was the head coach and general manager for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He has worked as an assistant coach at the high school football level, for several college football teams, and for professional teams in the CFL, XFL, and the National Football League (NFL). Kelly played college football as a quarterback at Bluffton College—now Bluffton University—in the late 1970s.

Mike Kelly
Biographical details
Born (1958-02-11) February 11, 1958
Waterbury, Connecticut
Playing career
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1980–1981Ridgedale HS (OH) (RB/S)
1982Edinboro (WR)
1983–1985Marietta (RB)
1986Ohio Wesleyan (OC)
1987–1989Capital (OC)
1990–1991San Francisco State (associate HC)
1992–1996Winnipeg Blue Bombers (OC)
1997–1999Valdosta State
2001Orlando Rage (OC)
2002Philadelphia Eagles (OA/QC)
2008Edmonton Eskimos (WR)
2009Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
2001Philadelphia Eagles (advance scout)
2003–2005Washington Redskins (pro pers. asst.)
2009Winnipeg Blue Bombers (GM)
Head coaching record
Overall50–35 (college)
7–11 (CFL)
Tournaments2–1 (NCAA D-III playoffs)
Accomplishments and honors
1 MAC (2014)
MAC Coach of the Year (2014)
ECAC South Region Co-Coach of the Year (2014)

Playing career and education

Kelly graduated from Muncie Northside High School in Muncie, Indiana in 1976, where as a senior he set a school record for passes attempted and completed in a single season. In 1996, Kelly was inducted into the Delaware County, Indiana Athletic Hall of Fame. Kelly's father was a high school football coach in Waterbury, Connecticut.[1]

Kelly played quarterback for Bluffton College—now known as Bluffton University—in Bluffton, Ohio from 1976 to 1979 and earned his bachelor's degree in health, physical education and recreation. When he graduated, Kelly ranked third in career completions (95), fourth in career attempts (242) and fifth in career passing yardage (1,028). He was just the sixth player in BC history to pass for over 1,000 yards. In 2002, Kelly was inducted into the Bluffton College Hall of Fame.[2]

Kelly earned a master's degree in education at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 1983.

Coaching career

Kelly was the offensive play-caller with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers between 1992 and 1996, as part of the teams that captured three regular season division titles and appeared in the Grey Cup twice. Kelly's offence set 29 club records during his tenure in Winnipeg, including Matt Dunigan's record 713 yards passing in a game.[3]

Kelly was the head coach at Valdosta State University from 1997 to 1999. In his three seasons there, Kelly coached 23 players to all-conference honours and had two players earn All-American status and four more recruited players later achieving All-American status. Kelly's Valdosta State teams set 13 school records during his tenure. Kelly was fired nine games into the 1999 season and replaced by assistant Mark Nelson, who was appointed interim head coach.[4]

In 2000, Kelly added the XFL to his coaching resume, where he worked as the offensive coordinator for the Orlando Rage. The Rage went a league best 8–2 during that season, winning the Eastern Division. Kelly's offence led the league in red zone scoring percentage, with quarterback Jeff Brohm named First-Team All-XFL.

Kelly spent five years in the National Football League (NFL) working as an advanced pro scout for the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles where he also was an offensive assistant/quality control.[1] During his time with the Eagles, while working alongside head coach Andy Reid, the club won two NFC East championships, while Kelly also coached in the 2003 Pro Bowl.

In 2008 Kelly was the receivers coach for the Edmonton Eskimos. Quarterback Ricky Ray had a personal best 5,600 yards passing while slot receivers Kamau Peterson caught over 100 passes and was named Most Outstanding Canadian Player and Kelly Campbell led the CFL averaging 23.7 yards per reception.

Kelly served as the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2009.[5] The team saw five players leave the team to sign with the National Football League in the option year of their Canadian Football League contract while four other import players were invited to private try-outs with NFL clubs. Kelly also coordinated the offense for half of the season, in which the team went 7–11 missing a home playoff berth by a single game. On December 17, 2009, Kelly was arrested in Bridgeport, Pennsylvania and charged with assault and harassment following an domestic dispute at his home. Kelly was fired from his post with Winnipeg later that day. Ken Hildahl, chairman of the Blue Bombers, indicated that Kelly's dismissal was due to the performance of the team, not the incident earlier that day.[6][7][8][9] The charges were dropped after Kelly took anger management counseling.[10][3]

In his first season with Widener, Kelly led the Pride to its record-setting 20th Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) championship and appearance in quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Football Championship. His record 12 consecutive wins broke a school record that had stood since 1912 for wins by a first-year coach. For his efforts he was named the MAC Coach of the Year and the ECAC South Co-Coach of the Year.[11] He was fired after the 2018 season. In 2019 he joined Next College Student Athlete, a for-profit organization that connects middle and high school student-athletes with college coaches.[3]

Teaching career

Kelly is a former professor of sports management at Drexel University.[11]

Head coaching record


Year Team Overall ConferenceStanding Bowl/playoffs
Valdosta State Blazers (Gulf South Conference) (1997–1999)
1997 Valdosta State 6–55–3T–4th
1998 Valdosta State 5–64–5T–5th
1999 Valdosta State 4–5[n 1]3–4[n 1][n 1]
Valdosta State: 15–1612–12
Widener Pride (Middle Atlantic Conference) (2014–2018)
2014 Widener 12–19–01stL NCAA Division III Quarterfinal
2015 Widener 6–46–34th
2016 Widener 6–46–34th
2017 Widener 7–47–2T–2nd
2018 Widener 4–64–4T–4th
Widener: 35–1932–12
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth


TeamYearRegular SeasonPost Season
WonLostTiesWin %FinishWonLostResult
WPG2009 7110.3893rd, East--Missed Playoffs
Total 7110.3890 Division
--0 Grey Cups


  1. Kelly was fired after the first nine games of the 1999 season. Mark Nelson served as interim head coach for the final two games of the season. Valdosta State finished 4–7 overall and 3–6 in Gulf South Conference play, tying for sixth place.


  1. "Kelly Settling In As New Widener Football Head Coach". CBS Local Philadelphia. CBS Local Philadelphia. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  2. "Mike Kelly '80". Bluffton University Athletic Hall of Fame. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  3. Friesen, Paul (July 29, 2019). "Out of coaching, Mike Kelly looks back fondly at time with Bombers". Winnipeg Sun. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  4. "Valdosta State fired head coach". The Courier-Journal. Louisville, Kentucky. November 2, 1999. p. D7. Retrieved December 13, 2019 via Newspapers.com .
  5. "Former Blue Bombers head coach Mike Kelly hoping to return to CFL". The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  6. "Bombers coach charged with assault". The Province. Vancouver, British Columbia. December 18, 2009. p. A63. Retrieved December 13, 2019 via Newspapers.com .
  7. Lawless, Gary; Santin, Aldo; James, Peter (December 18, 2009). "Bombers fire Kelly amid charges". Calgary Herald. Calgary, Alberta. p. 66. Retrieved December 13, 2019 via Newspapers.com .
  8. Hicks, Brandon (December 17, 2009). "Bombers coach Kelly charged with assault". CBC Sports. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  9. Naylor, Davdd (December 17, 2009). "Bombers coach Kelly arrested, fired". The Globe and Mail. Toronto, Ontario. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  10. Penton, Kirk (February 28, 2014). "Mike Kelly back coaching football". Winnipeg Sun. Winnipeg, Manitoba. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  11. "Mike Kelly". Widener Pride. Widener Pride. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.