By SCOTT COTTOS
Jim Kelly is practicing what he preaches.
With his wife accepting a job at the University of Connecticut, Kelly has resigned as Fostoria High School’s football coach after two seasons.
“Family’s got to come first. That’s what he’s always preached to the kids,” FHS athletic director Tim Murray said.
Kelly said that after two 0-10 seasons under his watch, “I’m sorry we didn’t win more,” but he thinks the Redmen will soon have a reversal of fortune that reflects the offseason work the players have done.
“It’s difficult to leave Fostoria,” he said. “I think things are going get better this year. But when you have to make a decision, you do what’s best for your family.”
Kelly’s wife, Montique, is leaving her job as executive director of the Bowling Green State University Alumni Association to become UConn’s associate vice president for alumni relations and executive director of the alumni association. The Kellys have two children.
Kelly said it was difficult to tell the players that he was leaving.
“They’re a pretty determined group and I think they’re going to keep working at it,” he said. “I told them that I love them — and I do — and that I think they’re going to do well. … Over the next few years, things should be trending upward.”
Kelly’s arrival at FHS in May 2012 gave him a late start in developing a program, and in the next two seasons the Redmen not only faced systematic changes, but also a difficult schedule, multiple injuries, young players being pressed into action and some disciplinary issues.
Murray said Kelly has made strides with the program and he believes better nights on the field will be experienced in the near future. One point of promise is the 7-0-1 record of last season’s freshman team.
“There’s light at the end of the tunnel,” Murray said. “There’s a consistent number of kids in the weight room. I think there are some good things to come.”
Murray added: “We’re going to miss him. He was awesome with the kids and we got to be very good friends. He’s just a great guy.”
Kelly, who expressed his gratitude to the Fostoria City Schools administration and board of education for their support, said he could very well continue to coach football in Connecticut.
“It’s in my blood, man,” he said with a laugh.
Murray said he wants the hiring of a new coach to be done quickly but without haste. He said the job would be posted within the district today. It must be posted exclusively within the district for five days before being made public.
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