PC hires ‘never punt’ Kelley as head football coach

Coach Kevin Kelley

Kevin Kelley, a high school coach at Arkansas’ Pulaski Academy known for never punting and a slew of state titles at the private school football powerhouse he helped create, is expected to be named head football coach at Presbyterian College at a news conference Friday (May 7) afternoon.

KATV and other media outlets in Little Rock, Arkansas, are reporting that Kelley has accepted the PC job. Former PC head coach Tommy Spangler was fired following a 4-3 spring season, PC’s first in the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League. Spangler spent a combined 16 seasons at PC, including two stints and 10 years as head coach and one six-year stint as defensive coordinator under former coach Harold Nichols.

PC unofficially announced the Kelley’s hire in an email to parents Thursday, KATV reported. Kelley’s hire concluded a national search just over two weeks after Spangler was fired. The school has scheduled a press conference for 2 p.m. Friday to make the announcement official.

Kelley, 51, won nine state titles at Pulaski Academy, which is described on its website as a private college preparatory school, with a 216-29-1 overall record with the Bruins. His teams won nine state titles (2003, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2021).

Along with the state titles won in the Arkansas Activities Association – the state’s version of the South Carolina High School League – Kelley is best known as “the coach who never punts.” His teams rarely if ever punt, regardless of down, distance and field position. He also almost always uses on on-side kick on kickoffs.

Here is part of the KATV report: “For Kelley, the job presents a chance to take his unique, statistically-driven style of play to the college level for the first time. A recent inductee of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, his teams consistently ranked among the nation’s best in terms of offense.”

At the same time news of Kelley’s hire at PC began circulating, Pulaski Academy President and Head of School Matt Walsh said the Bruins will now begin searches for both a new head coach and athletic director, according to the Arkansas-Times Democrat.

Kelley’s uncommon football strategies have given the coach a bit of notoriety over the years. He has been featured on ESPN.com, NFL Films and in Sports Illustrated. According to his biography on the Pulaski Academy website, Kelley is also a public speaker. He graduated from Henderson State (Texas) in 1992 and began his coaching career at Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District in Carrollton, Texas in 1993. He arrived at Pulaski Academy as offensive coordinator in 1997 before taking the reins as head coach.

Read full coverage of Friday’s press conference in the May 12 edition of the Advertiser.

 

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