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John Kelley declares his resignation as College Excessive soccer coach, led faculty to 1994 state title recreation

MORGANTOWN — John Kelley ended an period of highschool soccer teaching that lined two states and almost 50 years Thursday, as he introduced his resignation as College Excessive’s head coach.

“I’ve been doing this for 49 years and 41 of them (at UHS), 37 as the pinnacle coach,” Kelley stated whereas preventing again uncooked emotion. “It’s laborious to stroll away. It’s troublesome. It’s been my complete life. Perhaps I’m made up totally different from everybody else, however this has been my life. That is the best faculty I’ve ever been concerned with.”

In 37 years because the Hawks’ head coach, Kelley noticed the varsity remodel from a middle-of-the pack Class AA faculty into one of many bigger Class AAAA colleges within the state.

He gained 254 video games in these 37 seasons, together with a visit to the 1994 Class AAA state championship recreation, in addition to 22 different journeys to the state playoffs.

The Hawks performed in six state semifinals below Kelley and had three excellent 10-0 common seasons.

“A few of you might assume I’m resigning due to age,” stated Kelley, who’s 72 years outdated. “Age has nothing to do with it. I may go on the market and coach and be on that area with somebody who’s 20 years outdated, and I may run them into the bottom.”

As to why now, Kelley famous there are modifications that look like coming down the street directed at altering the face of highschool athletics on this state and he was not as teaching in that environment.

Senate Invoice 813 was lately handed by a 24-9 vote and despatched to the Home of Delegates for approval.

The invoice — if it turns into a legislation — would enable faculty athletes to compete in non-school aggressive actions on a year-round foundation.

Basically, a highschool soccer participant within the state would be capable to compete on an AAU basketball crew whereas soccer season was nonetheless in play or an athlete may play each journey baseball and highschool baseball on the identical time with out being dominated ineligible.

“I wish to attempt to keep constructive, however there are loads of issues I can’t take care of anymore,” Kelley started. “One in every of which is the West Virginia legislature getting concerned in sports activities and having roles which can be simply destroying our recreation.

“A few of the modifications which have come within the West Virginia (Secondary Faculty Actions Fee), like going to 4 courses, these are issues that we’re not doing the proper factor by youngsters anymore. That sticks in your craw. That makes you marvel the place we’re going with stuff.”

Kelley stated he would haven’t any position in selecting his substitute, though he did point out longtime assistant Eric Snyder as a professional candidate.

UHS athletic director Jeff Bailey stated the opening could be posted with the Monongalia County Board of Training on Monday.

He added faculty officers are debating on whether or not the opening will likely be posted for 5 or 10 days.

On the conclusion of the posting, the varsity will have a look at the candidates and start the interviewing course of.

Snyder stated he was going to be one of many candidates, and if he was chosen, “To observe in coach Kelley’s footsteps could be superb,” Snyder stated. “It’s undoubtedly going to be a tall mountain to climb, as a result of he has set the bar fairly excessive.”

It was a bar Kelley started to set as an assistant coach at UHS starting in 1983.

A graduate of Oak Glen Excessive Faculty, Kelley first moved to Morgantown after dwelling for a 12 months in Louisiana. Previous to that, he was an assistant coach at Hopewell (Alaquippa, Pa.) Space Excessive Faculty starting in 1974, the 12 months after Tony Dorsett had graduated there and moved on to turn into a star at Pitt.

Kelley attended a profession day on the WVU Mountainlair, the place he heard a few instructing and training opening at UHS.

“I didn’t know a soul,” in Morgantown, Kelley stated. “However that’s the place it began.”

Leaving a tradition-rich faculty reminiscent of Hopewell in football-crazed western Pennsylvania for West Virginia most likely appeared loopy on the time.

“What was stated to me was you’re coming from the penthouse and going to the outhouse,” Kelley remembered.

He took over as the pinnacle coach in 1987 and had the Hawks within the Class AA playoffs in his first season.

Simply seven years later, the Hawks had been within the Class AAA state championship recreation, a 27-7 loss towards South Charleston.

“I’m each completely satisfied and unhappy for John,” stated Lance Hoover, the quarterback of the 1994 crew. “I’m unhappy for him, as a result of he by no means received a state championship, which I do know he wished to win one for the varsity a lot. I’m completely satisfied for him for having the ability to exit his means and on his phrases.

“I feel what you actually have to offer him credit score for is he constructed and established some of the constant applications within the state. There could have been a few dangerous years, however he often had UHS proper there within the playoffs 12 months after 12 months.”

The Hawks had been 5-5 in Kelley’s last season, however from 1998-2005, UHS certified for the state playoffs each season. He had simply 9 shedding seasons in 37 years as a head coach.

“Coach Kelley had a big affect on my life,” stated Cody Phillips, an all-state quarterback on the 1998 crew. “His unwavering assist, steering, and perception in my talents remodeled my strategy to sports activities and life.

“His retirement marks the tip of an period stuffed with unforgettable recollections and invaluable classes.”

4 former UHS gamers below Kelley went on to an NFL expertise, highlighted by Wealthy Braham, who now serves as an assistant coach at UHS.

Braham walked on at WVU, the place he developed into an All-American in 1993 and have become a third-round choose of the Phoenix Cardinals in 1994. After getting launched by the Cardinals, Braham spent a 13-year profession enjoying for the Cincinnati Bengals.

“John has nice worth to me as a coach,” Braham stated. “Lots of people could say, effectively, he was only a highschool coach, however he turned us into younger males and ready us for the subsequent stage in life.

“John would do something to assist anybody, not simply the celebs of the crew. If anybody wished to go on to play in school, he tried to seek out a chance for everybody.”

In all, Kelley coached 44 first-team all-state gamers and eight who gained convention participant of the 12 months honors.

As to what’s the subsequent step for Kelley, he stated he wasn’t precisely positive.

“I walked out right here as we speak, and for the primary time in 49 years, I’m not a soccer coach,” he stated. “Individuals say now you possibly can exit and journey. I don’t wish to try this. I’m not prepared. I’ll take it a day at a time.

“I don’t anticipate coming again as an assistant, however there’s nonetheless some soccer left in me. What’s the brand new time period now, analyst? Perhaps I could be an analyst. I’ll be round each Friday night time. I’ll see you.”