Return of NEC football starts with Coach Kevin Kelly

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By. Kyle Dobrie & Tommy Doe

Kevin Kelly has stepped into the role of Head Football Coach for New England College, and he looks forward to launching the new program in fall of 2024. It will be a quick turnaround as Kelly, who is still getting acclimated to the campus, will quickly need to add staff and players to his roster.  

“I have hired coaches before, so it is not something new,” Kelly said.

Before he was hired at NEC, Kelly had more than 30 years of coaching experience at the collegiate and pro level. He was a head coach at Georgetown University for eight years, a defensive coordinator at Marshall University, defensive coordinator at Bryant University, worked in the XFL for one year with the New York Guardians as a linebacker coach, and has many more years of experience. 

“The neat thing about this job is that you can build a legacy, and the guys that are going to be a part of it, are going to be a part of that legacy.” Kelly said. 

Despite coaching at higher division schools and even professionally, Coach Kelly is extremely excited about the opportunity that NEC presents. In reference to his early days here on campus, Kelly was impressed by the trust that the staff at NEC had in him already.  

“The administration had a great blueprint, starting a program like this, they had all the pieces in place. My first contact was with Dave Decew, I talked with him for 45 minutes to an hour and I was really surprised at how well thought out the plan was,” Kelly said. 

Kelly said his former coaching experiences have prepared him for the challenge ahead.

“The two big ones, I’ve been a head coach before, so I’ve done some trial and error, and then Salve, when you combine those together, then you mold the thing that’s good for NEC,” Kelly said.

Kelly explained that his experience as a coach at Salve Regina was very pivotal for coaching at NEC. Since Salve is a Division lll team, he was able to learn the structure of the NCAA. 

Recruiting for the dozens of needed players is taking place close to campus, Kelly said, including southern Maine, and northern Massachusetts.

“I am hoping for around 50 (players)…I hope it’s more,” he said.

Anyone that’s interested in NEC will be considered, Kelly said.

In the spring of 2024, Coach Kelly and the athletics department will hold strength and conditioning for students at NEC interested in playing.

Click here to read more about Coach Kelly

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