New England College Announces Kevin Kelly as New Football Coach | New England College

New England College Announces Kevin Kelly as New Football Coach

NEC welcomes new head football coach Kevin Kelly.

Kelly brings 30 years of coaching experience to the College as it prepares for its first season in 2024.

New England College Director of Athletics Dave DeCew announced this week that Kevin Kelly will be the College’s new head football coach.

“We are thrilled to bring in Kevin as our head coach of the football program,” DeCew said. “During the search process, it was clear that Kevin was ready to take on this major undertaking. He has the expertise, work ethic, and character that New England College is looking for in a leader and a colleague. Having been a head coach and assistant at various college levels, he knows everything that will be essential to build this program successfully. We all look forward to seeing the recruiting, staffing and cultural development commence, knowing the excitement of game day is not too far away.”

Kelly brings more than 30 years of experience to the position, having served as the head coach of Georgetown University, where he was named Patriot League Coach of the Year for 2011, from 2006–2013. While with Marshall in 1996, the team won an FCS National Championship, and Kelly was part of a staff that coached future NFL players Randy Moss, Byron Leftwich and Chad Pennington. While at Navy, the program won three Commander-in-Chief trophies. Additionally, Kelly was part of an Ivy League championship-winning staff at Dartmouth College. Most recently, he served as defensive backs coach at Salve Regina University in Rhode Island. He has also coached in the XFL and with Bryant University and Ball State University.

“I am honored and thrilled to be named the head football coach at New England College!” Kelly said. “Starting any endeavor from the ground up is an enormous challenge. But working within the visions of President Lesperance and Athletic Director DeCew makes this challenge a very exciting one—as we build a program that NEC, the NEC Alumni and the Henniker community will be proud of. I can’t wait to get started!”

On June 15, 2023, NEC President Dr. Wayne F. Lesperance, Jr. announced the return of football to New England College after a 50-year hiatus.

“I believe Coach Kelly is the perfect choice as we begin this challenging and unique phase of Pilgrim football,” stated Dr. Wayne Lesperance, Jr., President of New England College. “I have every confidence that Coach Kelly will lead our student athletes in a way that will help them excel both on and off the field.”

The Pilgrims are expected to begin play with a condensed season in the fall of 2024, followed by a full season of play in the fall of 2025. For continuing coverage of New England College Athletics, visit and follow the Pilgrims on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.


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