By Matt Noonan
CAMBRIDGE, MA – While the “Kelly Cup” has a special meaning to Framingham State’s Tom Kelley, it also means something to his sons, Mike and Patrick Kelley.
Mike is an assistant coach for Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s football team, a program he used to play for as student prior to graduating in 1999, while Patrick is an assistant coach with the Framingham State Rams.
Both teams will meet tomorrow afternoon in an important Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) matchup, and in anticipation of another ‘Kelley Cup,’ Noontime Sports caught up with the assistance coaches to chat about their favorite memories of the series.
Noontime Sports: What makes this game so special?
Mike Kelley: “That’s a good question, but just before the game (is one of my favorite moments, especially when we’re) talking with the other coaches and going up to the football office before the game and talking football before the game and things like that. I grew up on the campus, so I know the campus inside and out, so it’s kind of weird and awkward to go back because I have been there before, so just hanging out before the game is one of the biggest memories and it will happen on Saturday (when) I go up to the office before the game.”
Patrick Kelley: “Like (my brother said), we both grew up on the campus, so it’s a little bit weird (coaching) against your brother, but we’ve had some really tough games against them and it doesn’t matter what the records are going into the game because it is just one of those games where all bets are off. It’s a tough battle, no matter who is up and who is down, and we know we’ll always get their best every time we play them. Mike is going to have them prepared, too.”
Noontime Sports: Were you guys competitive with one another growing up?
PK: “Absolutely. Every chance we got – our father was an athletic director, so we had access to every ball or net, so we spent (as much) time as we could (outside) whether it was playing street hockey or basketball or wiffleball.”
MK: “We’d be on the (basketball) court during halftime of a Framingham State game playing basketball in front of the crowd.”
PK: “Yeah, we did that growing up. We were both ball boys for the football team until we got to high school, but our whole lives has been a fierce rivalry.”
Noontime Sports: This is an important contest for both squads, so what would a victory do for your team?
TK: “We’re 2-3 in the conference, so a win would be huge for us. We have three league games left and it would be huge to get it going against the division winner from the last two years.”
PK: “It is a little bit different for us (because) we know we need to win out to have a chance for a possible postseason birth. (Our next two games) are going to be super tough with Massachusetts Maritime and Bridgewater State, but if we’re lucky enough to get a win this week it will put us in very good shape since we don’t have any losses in the conference.”
Noontime Sports: Finally, what’s the best advice your father has taught you from a football perspective? How has his advice helped you both grow as coaches?
TK: “Don’t lose (because) you prepare for the unexpected and you’ve got to have your kids in the right positions no matter what happens. (Also), never underestimate your opponent.”
PK: “He’s just portrayed that you have to build a tough, competitive team (that’s also) a disciplined team, so that’s something you can hang your hat on, which is having a tough, competitive good group of kids.”