September 4, 2014

Football - Mike Kelly"s journey to get to the Widener Pride

Mike Kelly will make his debut
as Widener’s head coach Friday
night against Rowan. Kelly has
coached at every level of
football and after three years
as an agent he brings
a wealth of coaching experience
to the Pride.
By Terry Toohey, Delaware County Daily Times
CHESTER — If you want to talk about places such as Monroe, La., Winnipeg, Edmonton, New York or Philadelphia, Mike Kelly is your man. He has first-hand knowledge of all of those towns.

“I’m a little nervous about crossing the river, but we’re looking forward to this challenge,” Kelly said.

Kelly has worked in every one of those places, and a few more, in a 30-plus-year career that has spanned nearly every level of the coaching spectrum, from Division III to the pro ranks, including the NFL, CFL and the defunct XFL.

“This is my 31st move,” Kelly said. “I’ve lived in 11 states and two (Canadian) provinces.”

His latest stop is at Widener, where Kelly was hired to replace Bobby Acosta, who left Chester after one season to become the tight ends coach at Syracuse University.

This is Kelly’s first coaching gig since he was a game advance consultant with the New York Giants in 2010. He spent the last three years representing NFL players for Pro Source Sports & Entertainment in Monroe, La.

“It was an interesting life, working on that side of it,” Kelly said of his time in Louisiana.” I think you have to be more of an enabler than what you’re raised as a football coach and when this opportunity came to move back to the Philadelphia area where I feel most at home, and to coach at a place like Widener, the stars just aligned to me.

“You want to say that you’re not singular in purpose, but when you’re a coach, you’re a coach and some point you have to face reality. You can go do other things but eventually the allure of that adrenaline rush on Friday night or Saturday afternoon or Sunday afternoon is kind of overwhelming. It’s kind of what you do and what you are.”

Kelly’s first test is a tough one. The Pride opens the season Friday night at No. 15 Rowan. Kickoff is 7 p.m. The Profs went 9-3 last season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament.

“I’m a little nervous about crossing the river, but we’re looking forward to this challenge,” Kelly said.

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