††Brian Kelly completed his 12th year at the helm of the Grand Valley State football program in fine fashion with the 2002 NCAA DII National Championship. For his efforts, Kelly was named the 2002 American Football Coaches Association Division II Coach of the Year. Kelly, who was appointed head coach at Grand Valley State on March 22, 1991, is Grand Valley Stateís all-time winningest head football coach with an overall coaching record of 104-34-2. He also ranks first in Laker annals in winning percentage with a .750 mark and currently has the third-best winning percentage among all active Division II head football coaches. Kelly, now 39, is the fifth head coach in the history of the Laker football program.
Kelly guided the Lakers to a perfect 14-0 record en route to the 2002 National Championship. Under his direction, GVSU has won 26 straight regular season games and is 33-1 over the last two and half seasons. Grand Valley State has won back-to-back GLIAC Championships, including 22 straight league tilts. 2002 marked the second straight season the Lakers have led NCAA DII in total offense (497.5) and scoring average (47.0) under the direction of Kelly. In addition, Brian has tutored two Harlon Hill Finalists during his tenure. All American QB Curt Anes was the recipient of the 2002 Harlon Hill Award as the top player in Division II. Anes finished second in the 2001 balloting, while former Laker QB Jeff Fox was a third-place finisher in 1998.
††Kelly guided Grand Valley State to its first-ever NCAA Division II Playoff victory in 2001. In addition, the Lakers also became the first-ever GLIAC school to advance to the NCAA Division II National Championship Game. GVSU claimed the 2001 GLIAC Championship and recorded just the second undefeated regular season in school history (1989). The Lakersí 19-game winning streak prior to the DII National Championship Game is the longest winning streak in school history. Following the record-setting 2001 season, Kelly was named the American Football Monthly Schutt Division II Coach of the Year, the GLIAC Coach of the Year for the first time, and the AFCA Region 4 Coach of the Year for the second time. Grand Valley State set 77 NCAA, GLIAC and school records during the 2001 campaign, including the all-time NCAA DII record for points per game (58.4). The Lakers also became the first school since Hanover in 1948 to average more than 600 yards of total offense per game (600.8). In addition to leading the nation in points and total offense, GVSU ranked third in passing offense (334.6 ypg) and seventh in rushing offense (266.2 ypg). Grand Valley State dominated the GLIAC team and individual statistics in 2001. The Lakers led the league in nine-of-10 team categories and six-of-10 individual.
Kelly has led Grand Valley State to five conference titles and five NCAA Division II Playoff appearances. GVSU has finished lower than third in the GLIAC just once under Kellyís reign, including an eight-year run in which GVSU finished first three times, second four times and third once.
††Kelly led the 2000 Laker football squad to a 7-4 overall mark and a 7-3 GLIAC ledger. GVSU started slow, but won six straight games to close out the campaign.
††In 1991, his first season as head coach, the Lakers went 9-3 overall, tied for second in the MIFC at 8-2 and received a berth in the NCAA Division II Playoffs. In 1992, the Lakers (8-3) tied Ferris State for top honors in the MIFC with an 8-2 ledger. Grand Valley Stateís 1993 team finished (6-3-2, 6-2-1 MIFC) third in the conference. In 1994, the Lakers returned to the NCAA Playoffs, finishing 8-4 overall and taking second place in the MIFC with an 8-2 mark. Kelly guided GVSU to a pair of 8-3 second-place finishes in 1995 and 1996. His 1997 squad claimed its third MIFC title of the 1990ís with a 9-1 league record and finished 9-2 overall. GVSUís two losses came at Saginaw Valley State in overtime (30-27) and at NCAA Division II National Semifinalist California-Davis (21-19). The 1998 Laker football team captured its second consecutive MIFC title with a 9-1 league mark and qualified for the NCAA Division II Playoffs for the third time in Kellyís tenure. Under Kellyís direction, Grand Valley State has posted a 94-21-2 (.796) record in GLIAC play.
††Grand Valley State led the GLIAC in total offense in each of his first four years as head coach and finished the 1998 season ranked first in four offensive categories and in the top five of four additional categories. The Lakers also finished third in the nation in passing (306.2 ypg), fifth in total offense (479.1 ypg) and third in scoring offense (40.1 ppg) during the 1998 campaign. Throughout his stay at Grand Valley State (1987-present), every freshman class has won at least one conference title or qualified for at least one NCAA Playoff berth.
††Kellyís players have earned 72 All-American awards, with four players competing in the NFL and three in the CFL. ††Brian joined the Grand Valley State football staff in 1987 as a graduate assistant and defensive back coach. He became defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator in 1989.
††A native of Chelsea, Mass., Kelly attended St. Johnís Prep School in Danvers, Mass., and lettered in football and baseball. He attended Assumption College (Mass.) where he was a four-year letterwinner at linebacker. Kelly was team captain as a junior and senior, helping the Greyhounds reach the ECAC Playoffs in 1982 and 1983. Brian received All-Northeast Football Coaches Association honors both years.
††Kelly graduated from Assumption in 1983 with a bachelorís degree in political science. He remained at Assumption as a linebacker coach, defensive coordinator and softball coach from 1983 through 1986.
†Brian and his wife, Paqui, have three children -- Patrick Liam (5), Grace Marie (2), and Kenzel Michael (1). A member of the American Football Coaches Association, Kelly and his family reside in Allendale, Mich.