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COLUMN: There have been many sides to John Kelley, who was at all times misunderstood by these wanting in from the surface

MORGANTOWN — John Kelley by no means hid from controversy.

Teaching cliches — the College Excessive soccer coach not often used them. For those who needed to enterprise down the trail of understanding what was really on Kelley’s thoughts, all you needed to do was ask him.

After which prepare.

“He’s pure leisure,” was the best way longtime UHS assistant Eric Snyder tried to explain Kelley, who introduced his resignation because the Hawks’ head coach on Thursday. “When he talks about going to that coach’s workplace and attempting to resolve the world’s issues, yeah, that’s precisely what he does.

“Generally it’s a hilarious reply. Generally it’s reply. Generally it’s each.”

That’s a facet to Kelley few bought to see, such is the best way for coaches who’ve been round some time.

Kelley was certainly that — round for some time — having begun his teaching profession at UHS as an assistant in 1983, lengthy earlier than the beginning of the web or the iPhone.

There was a lot extra to Kelley than what was seen on Friday nights, not that these weren’t typically entertaining, too.

For starters, Kelley didn’t put on his ardour and love for College Excessive on his sleeve, however relatively his calf, which is the place he sported a tattoo of the college’s brand.

“I do know he beloved College Excessive,” stated former standout Scott Gyorko, who went on to play at WVU. “Once you suppose College Excessive soccer, you consider John Kelley. I beloved taking part in for him. He made issues like simply going to observe each day, he made it enjoyable. He was at all times a enjoyable man to be round.”

Once more, that’s a facet to Kelley few bought to see.

To most of us, Kelley stood as an old style imposing determine, one who walked the sidelines with the demeanor of a drill sergeant whereas yelling and screaming on the prime of his lungs.

That stuff wasn’t for present. True, that was part of who Kelley was, however it simply occurred to be a small half that was seen by the most individuals.

“That’s what frustrates me essentially the most,” he stated. “It frustrates me past perception. Individuals don’t know me. They see one motion on a Friday night time and make a judgement and say that’s the best way I’m.

“They don’t know me as an individual. They don’t see the relationships I’ve constructed with children. They don’t see any of that stuff.”

In all honesty, Kelley could go down as one of the vital misunderstood coaches there ever was in Monongalia County.

“Sure, there’s a false impression of who he’s,” stated Lance Hoover, the quarterback of the 1994 UHS group that performed within the state championship sport. “He was by no means a drill sergeant. He was very detailed in his teaching, however until you spent loads of time with him away from the soccer area, you by no means noticed who he actually is.”

In fact, Kelley most likely had extra sides than a political debate.

He made outrageous statements to the media, like calling for a federal investigation if considered one of his deserving gamers didn’t win an award or make first-team all-state.

“He’ll positively let you know how it’s,” former UHS standout Scott Gyorko stated. “That’s why it was so enjoyable to play for him.”

One time, earlier than the 1998 Mohawk Bowl, Kelley predicted if the Hawks had been to beat rival Morgantown Excessive that it will be the largest upset since, “Truman beat Dewey.”

In fact, UHS then went out and gained that sport, which most likely sparked just a few extra memorable feedback.

“Generally John would say issues that had been on the market, that’s for positive,” former Morgantown Excessive head coach Glen McNew stated. “Generally it will rub you the incorrect method, however you additionally couldn’t blame him.
“John was devoted to College Excessive. That was his method of defending his college and sticking up for his gamers. You may’t fault him for that.”

And Kelley just isn’t one to again down from no matter he says.

“I most likely have turned lots of people off, as a result of I say what everyone else is pondering,” he stated. “I’m going to proceed to try this.”

With that, Kelley rapidly factors out all that weighs on highschool athletics on this state, a lot of which, he admits, was a significant purpose for his resignation within the first place.

That features opening up a type of switch portal at the highschool degree, to including a fourth classification in West Virginia, in addition to a referee scarcity and laws that, if handed, would permit athletes to play non-sanctioned sports activities throughout the highschool seasons.

“There are a whole bunch of individuals on the market who know what’s happening proper now could be incorrect,” Kelley stated. “I’m not simply going to sit down again and swallow it and say I’m going to take it. I’ll communicate out if I feel it’s incorrect, and I did that previously.”

The notion of John Kelley, that’s what we requested of McNew, who spent many nights on the other sideline from Kelley all through the Eighties and Nineties.

Each coaches are credited for not solely constructing expectations at their faculties, however for additionally taking a neighborhood rivalry and turning the Mohawk Bowl right into a statewide establishment.

“The rivalry bought so intense, most likely extra intense than it ought to have been,” McNew stated. “In a method, that depth made issues extra enjoyable. It made me work more durable. I’m positive it made John put in loads of lengthy nights, too.

“What folks don’t learn about John is how good of a man he actually is. I do know it, however the rivalry bought so intense that it most likely by no means allowed us to develop into good pals.”

Even with all of this, have we uncovered simply who John Kelley is? In all probability not, so we simply requested him.

“I don’t know,” he replies with a smile. “I’m nonetheless attempting to determine it out. I take into account myself to be a loner. I’m not a shy particular person, however I’m completely different. If given the chance, I’m a fairly truthful man.”

Kelley stated he wasn’t positive what life after soccer had in retailer for him.

McNew did have a suggestion.

“What I might inform John is to exit and purchase a fishing pole and let’s go get pleasure from a while on the lake collectively,” McNew stated. “I feel that might be actually nice.”