Kevin Kelly begins his second season with the Bryant football program and his 37th season as a college football coach in 2018. Kelly serves as the Defensive Coordinator and coaches the linebackers.
He has made stops at every level of college football, including eight years as the head coach at Georgetown University.
Kelly's first season in Smithfield brought with it one of the best defensive seasons in program history. Under Kelly's tutelage, Thomas Costigan became just the second player in program history to record over 100 tackles in a single season and became just the fourth AP All-American in program history. In addition, Costigan was named the NEC and ECAC Defensive Player of the Year after posting 11.5 sacks and 17 tackles for a loss. Kelly's defense also included NEC Defensive Rookie of the Year Andre Brackett and All-NEC linemen Kevin Lazo and Dillon Guthro.
Prior to Bryant, Kelly spent a year at Wyoming Seminary Prep and two years (2014-15) as the defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach at Ball State University.
Kelly’s stop in Muncie came following his eight-year stint at Georgetown (2006-13). Kelly’s best year with the Hoyas came in 2011 when the team went 8-3 and he was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year and a finalist for the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year award. He coached the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012. Kelly had 211 of his student-athletes named to the Patriot League honor roll over the course of his career.
Kelly spent 2002-05 as the special teams coordinator and linebackers coach at the U.S. Naval Academy. He helped the Midshipmen to three bowl games and a 26-11 record over his final three years. Navy won three Commander-in-Chief’s titles, the 2004 Emerald Bowl, the 2005 Poinsettia Bowl and participated in the 2003 Houston Bowl during Kelly’s time in Annapolis. In 2004, Kelly’s efforts helped Navy finish 26th in the country in scoring defense (19.83) as the team won a school record-tying 10 games. In 2013, he helped the defense finish 14th in the nation in pass defense, 42nd in pass defense efficiency, 34th in total defense and 34th in scoring defense.
Prior to joining Navy, Kelly spent the 2000 and 2001 seasons as the defensive coordinator at Marshall -- one of two coaching stints with the Thundering Herd. In 2000, Marshall won the Mid-American Conference Championship and the Motor City Bowl and followed that up with a win at the 2001 GMAC Bowl. Kelly also worked at Marshall from 1996-98, when the team was making the transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision. Led by Chad Pennington and Randy Moss, the team won the Southern Conference en route to the Division I-AA National Championship and a perfect 15-0 season. They then won back-to-back MAC Championships in 1997 and 1998, reaching the Motor City Bowl in both years and winning in 1998. Kelly’s most successful season was in 1998 when Marshall's defense ranked 23rd nationally, including 16th in scoring defense, 14th against the pass and 25th against the run.
Kelly has also made multiple stops at Syracuse and Dartmouth during his career. He was the defensive backfield coach for the Orange in 1999, helping them to a victory in the Music City Bowl. Kelly’s first stint in Upstate New York was from 1986-88 when he served as a graduate assistant working with the linebackers. The Orange won the 1987 Lambert Cup and played in the 1988 Sugar Bowl during Kelly’s time there.
Kelly spent the 1991 season and the 1995 season at Dartmouth. He coached the offensive backfield in 1991, helping the Big Green win an Ivy League title. Kelly served as the linebackers coach during his second stint in Hanover.
Kelly has also coached at Tulane (1992-94, linebackers), Northeastern (1989-90, defensive backfield), Bowdoin College (1988, defensive backfield) and Southern Connecticut (1984-85, outside linebackers).
A 1982 graduate of Springfield College, Kelly earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education and played football for three years. He earned a master’s degree in physical education from Southern Connecticut in 1986.
Kelly’s first coaching job was at Longmeadow High School in Massachusetts, where he was the defensive coordinator and defensive backfield coach in 1981. Upon graduation from Springfield, Kelly headed to the Bronx and served as the head football coach at The Fieldston School. He also served as the head track coach.