Kevin Kelley has been named the new Head Baseball Coach at Rutgers University-Newark, it was announced Wednesday afternoon by Director of Athletics Mark Griffin.
Kelley – who spent the last eight years at UMass Boston – will take over the Scarlet Raider program effective immediately.
"To say we are excited about the addition of Kevin Kelley to our athletic staff is an understatement," said Griffin. "He demonstrates all the skills and background that we are looking for as an enthusiastic leader of our baseball program. Kevin has been key in the development of UMass Boston baseball which has made three NCAA Tournaments and two Division III World Series recently, and we look forward to him bringing his leadership to Rutgers-Newark."
Said Kelley on Tuesday evening. "I am very fortunate and excited to have the opportunity to be the next Head Baseball Coach at Rutgers University-Newark. I appreciate the trust Mark Griffin and the Rutgers-Newark community has placed in me and I can't wait to get started."
A 2005 graduate of Suffolk University, Kelley joined the UMass Boston staff in 2009 and was promoted to Associate Head Coach in 2014. While at UMass, Kelley played a major role in the development of Beacons' baseball into a regional and national power. The 2018 UMass Boston team won 37 games, a Little East Conference title and reached the NCAA Regionals. The 2017 Beacons won a staggering 38 games, advancing to the NCAA Division III World Series in Appleton, Wis. The two-year run was the best in UMB baseball history, and the 75 wins during that time are one of the top marks in the entire nation.
In total, Kelley helped engineer three-straight 30-win seasons from 2016-2018 and the Beacons won 23 or more games in five of his nine seasons on staff. UMass Boston won three LEC titles, two NCAA Regionals and finished in the national top-10 four times during his time in Beantown.
An impressive 20 of Kelley's former players received American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) All-Region accolades, 14 received D3baseball.com All-Region recognition, and eight former Beacons signed professional contracts.
"Kevin is going to be an outstanding head coach," said Brendan Eygabroat – the current UMass Boston Head Coach. "He has been my right hand for the last eight seasons. As an associate head coach he had a major part in all facets of Beacons' Baseball, and during that time, we have seen unprecedented success for our program. We have been No. 1 in New England four of the eight years he was on staff, and we made two trips to the College World Series. Kevin is a tremendous communicator, and a tireless worker. He does a great job relating to his players, and getting the most out of each guy. He has led our infield defense, and advanced scouting for years. He has also been a major contributor with our hitters and base running."
After a successful collegiate career playing for Eygabroat at Suffolk, he joined the Rams' coaching staff for a year to begin to gain collegiate coaching experience. In addition to his collegiate coaching, Kelley spent 11 years as the Assistant Program Director at Team Boston – a high-level travel program with 13 teams featuring youngsters aged 10-to-18. He also was the Baseball Coordinator at All Dorchester Sports League and spent four years as the Head Coach of Team Boston's 16-18U team.
"The Scarlet Raiders are getting a very passionate and detailed focused coach," added Eygabroat. "Coach Kelley has recruited and developed numerous all-league, all-region and all-american student-athletes while at UMass Boston, and I think his experience in a very difficult league like the LEC will really help him with his transition to a great baseball league like the NJAC. Kevin has the skills and knowledge to get Rutgers-Newark baseball rolling. I expect big things from him and his program in the near future."
Kelley will be taking over a program that reached the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship Tournament in 2017 after going 24-15-1. After missing out on the postseason in 2018, Kelley is hungry to bring the Scarlet Raiders back to the top of the NJAC standings.
"I intend on building a successful program that competes year-in and year-out for the NJAC title as well as becoming a dominant power in the Mid-Atlantic Region and nation," added the first-year coach.
The Scarlet Raider baseball program will begin its fall slate on Tuesday, September 25 and the 2019 regular season is slated to begin in late-February.
"When you look at the big picture, it's been said that student-athletes attribute a portion of their success to sports and their coaches. I know I did," said Kelley. "I make it a point to instill certain virtues and skills such as self-control, sacrifice, effort, integrity, modesty, teamwork, perseverance, positive attitude and sportsmanship. Not only will this assist our young men on the field, but more importantly, it will assist them in life."
Kelley also had this to say to his mentor – Brendan Eygabroat – who he had been coaching with for the better part of the last decade.
"I also want to thank my mentor Brendan Eygabroat for his tutelage over the last eight years. I can't put into words how much he means to me and what he has done for me on and off the field. I couldn't have asked for a better coach to learn from. He has one of the best baseball minds I have ever been around."
Scarlet Raider baseball fans should keep an eye out for a RAIDER REPORT podcast with the new Scarlet Raider head coach late next week at www.rutgersnewarkathletics.com.
Release provided by Rutgers-Newark Sports Information Department