Kelly Named Head Football Coach

Dec. 3, 2006

  • Head Coach Brian Kelly Press Conference
  • President Dr. Nancy Zimpher Opening Remarks
  • Athletics Director Mike Thomas Opening Remarks
  • Watch the archived Press Conference
  • Photo Gallery
  • Press Conference Transcript

    CINCINNATI, Ohio--Brian Kelly, who took Central Michigan to a Mid-American Conference football championship in his third season as mentor, has been named head coach at the University of Cincinnati.

    Kelly will be formally introduced at a media conference at 4 p.m. on Monday at the Kingsgate Marriott Conference Center.

    Kelly, who has compiled a 137-51-2 record in 16 seasons as a college head coach, spent the past three campaigns at Central Michigan. This past season he directed the Chippewas to a 9-4 season and a 31-10 win over Ohio in the MAC Championship Game. It marked the school's first championship since 1994 and led to its first bowl appearance since that same year. Central Michigan will face Middle Tennessee State in the Motor City Bowl on Dec. 26.

    "Brian Kelly is a proven commodity, as a championship football coach and a great leader of young men," states Director of Athletics Mike Thomas. "From the first time that I had a chance to meet him I was taken by his personality and his drive for success. From coaching two national championship teams at Grand Valley State to winning the MAC Championship in only his third year at Central Michigan, Brian has been a winner everywhere he has coached. Brian Kelly is a perfect match for the University of Cincinnati as we move to the top of the BIG EAST."

    Known for his offensive approach, Kelly is the architect of the CMU attack that ranks 19th nationally in passing offense, 27th in scoring offense, and 31st in total offense in the current NCAA statistics.

    In 2005, Kelly's squad put together a four-game winning streak midway through the season en route to a 6-5 overall record and 5-3 mark in the Mid-American Conference. It marked the Chippewas' first winning record since 1998 and most overall and conference wins since the same season.

    The Chippewas' most dramatic improvement defensively came in the area of rush defense. The 2005 Chippewa defense led the MAC in rushing defense, surrendering just 113.7 yards per game on the ground.

    CMU improved its win total in each of Kelly's three seasons. After winning 10 games over the first two seasons, he posted nine victories this fall en route to the league crown.

    Kelly took over a program prior to the 2004 season that had won three or fewer games in three of the four previous seasons. He guided the Chippewas to a 4-7 mark in 2004.

    Three players from the Chippewas' 2004 squad are currently on NFL rosters. The Bengals drafted Eric Ghiacuic in the fourth round. Adam Kieft was drafted in the fifth rounds in the same draft.

    Eight different players have garnered All-MAC first team honors under Kelly. The Chippewas had five players listed on the 2006 first team.

    Kelly is a member of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Ethics Committee and is one of 62 Division I-A coaches to hold a vote in the USA Today Top 25.

    A proven winner, Kelly arrived at CMU fresh off consecutive NCAA Division II national titles at Grand Valley State University. He was 118-35-2 in 13 seasons at Grand Valley, including 103-22-2 in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.

    The Lakers were 41-2 in Kelly's final three seasons, winning 32 consecutive games at one point, and claiming Division II national championships in 2002 (14-0) and 2003 (14-1). His 2001 squad finished 13-1 and advanced to the national championship game.

    Kelly was named the AFCA Division II Coach of the Year twice (2002 and 2003) and led the Lakers to five conference titles and six Division II Playoff appearances in his 13 seasons at Grand Valley. The Lakers never finished lower than third in the GLIAC, a conference whose membership numbered between 11 and 14 teams, during Kelly's tenure.

    Kelly mentored a pair of finalists for the Harlon Hill Award, presented annually to the top player in Division II. Curt Anes won the award in 2002 after finishing runner-up in 2001, while Jeff Fox was third in the balloting in 1998. Both players were quarterbacks in Kelly's system.

    Kelly's Grand Valley players earned 77 All-America awards, with four players moving on to the NFL and another three to the Canadian Football League. His 2001 national runner-up squad set 77 NCAA, GLIAC, and school records, including setting the all-time Division II scoring record by averaging 58.4 points per game. The 2001 team also became the first Division II unit in 53 years to average more than 600 yards per game in total offense (600.8 ypg in 14 games).

    Grand Valley followed up its record-shattering 2001 season by averaging 497.5 ypg and 47.0 ppg during its undefeated 2002 national championship run. The 2003 team, meanwhile, was more noted for its defense. The Lakers defeated North Dakota, 10-3, in the 2003 national title game.

    A native of Chelsea, Massachusetts, Kelly attended St. John's Prep School in Danvers, Massachusetts. He was a four-year letterwinner at Assumption College (Massachusetts) as a linebacker. After graduating from Assumption in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in political science, he served as linebackers coach, defensive coordinator, and softball coach from 1983-86 at Assumption.

    Kelly joined the Grand Valley staff in 1987 as a graduate assistant and defensive backs coach. He became the defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator in 1989 and took over as head coach in 1991. His first team finished 9-3 and qualified for the NCAA Playoffs.

    Cincinnati concluded the regular season with a record of 7-5 and is headed to the International Bowl on Jan. 6, 2007 in Toronto, Ont., its fifth bowl game in seven years.