PERU, Neb. -- Peru State College is pleased to announce that Kirk Kelley will serve as the College’s new Athletic Director. Kelley’s tenure will officially begin in May of 2018, but he will be on campus to meet with faculty, staff and students throughout the spring.
Kelley has over 15 years of experience as an athletic director and assistant athletic director. He has previously served as athletic director at Lyon College, Oklahoma Wesleyan University and Eastern Oklahoma State College. The Kelley Indoor Baseball Complex at Lyon College is named in his honor and was built by alumni and friends of the program he started there in 1992.
Dr. Dan Hanson, president of Peru State College, writes, “As an athletic director, Kirk has been a successful fundraiser, led winning programs and is known for his focus on character-driven athletic programs.”
Kelley writes, “I am very impressed with Peru State’s athletic facilities, and my hope is that we can continue to work to expand in this area. We want to provide all student-athletes with the best experience possible.”
“Peru State provides a great academic and athletic experience for its student-athletes.”
While at Eastern Oklahoma State College, Kelley oversaw eighteen National Junior College Athletic Association Academic Student-Athlete Awards in the spring of 2017 including two first team players on the baseball team. His last year as Football Coach at Lyons saw five athletes named to the Central States Football League All-Academic Team and two athletes named to the CSFL Champions of Character Team.
Kelley told the campus during his visit in November that his greatest accomplishment was that “every one of his seniors graduated while he was a head coach.”
Kelley has been a collegiate head baseball coach for 25 years and he has almost 30 years of experience coaching college athletics. Kelley was named the 2011 National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Baseball Coach of the Year. Kelley has also served as President of the NAIA Baseball Coaches Association, an organization he has been a member of for 25 years.
Uniquely, his collegiate career includes founding three athletic programs at Lyon College (Batesville, Arkansas). Kelley first founded and served as Head Coach of the Baseball Team in 1993 before also overseeing the start of a softball program as Athletic Director.
In 2013, Kelley was asked to return to Lyon College as the Head Football Coach. While the Lyon College Hall of Fame Coach had previously served Lyon College as Head Baseball Coach and Athletic Director, Kelley had never coached college football.
At the time, Dr. Donald Weatherman, president of Lyon College was quoted by Sporting Life Arkansas, “Coach Kelley will set the right tone for this program and instill the right priorities in his assistant coaches and players.”
“He knows how to be successful as a coach of a demanding academic institution. He also knows the faculty at Lyon and what they expect from all their students. He is a proven program builder and a proven winner.”
Kelley went on to serve as the Lyon College Head Football Coach for three years. He returned to coaching baseball when he accepted a role as both Head Baseball Coach and Athletic Director at Eastern Oklahoma State College (Wilburton, Oklahoma).
His almost 30 years of experience with college baseball includes 17 years as Head Coach at Lyon College; time scouting for the Baltimore Orioles and the San Diego Padres; and serving as Associate Head Baseball Coach at Division I University of Central Arkansas (Conway, Arkansas). As a baseball coach, Kelley has 626 careers wins.
Player highlights from his career include more than 50 all-conference players, nine All-Americans and a Rawlings National Gold Glove winner at Lyon College; six players signed with the MLB at the University of Central Arkansas; and Conference Pitcher of the Year and Conference Freshman of the Year at Oklahoman Wesleyan University (Bartlesville, Oklahoma).
While he was Head Coach at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, his 2011 team won the NCCAA National Championship. That team also set the school record for most wins in a season and Kelley was named NCCAA National Coach of the Year.
While he was Associate Head Coach at the University of Central Arkansas, the team came in second at the 2013 NCAA Regional Tournament. Eastern Oklahoma State College finished second in their region under Kelley.
Kelley had also led the Lyon College team to the NAIA regional tournament three times with a second place finish in 2002. Kelly’s 2005 Lyon College team was ranked in the top four teams nationally in 2005.
Kelley played baseball and football at Sarasota Riverview High School in Florida and again at NAIA Division II St. Mary of the Plains College (Dodge City, Kansas) where he earned a Bachelor of Arts. He also earned a Master of Science in Education from Northwest Missouri State University (Maryville, Missouri).
Peru State College has eight NAIA Division I sports and an active cheer squad. The College is an NAIA Champions of Character institution with the Athletics Department identifying important values as servant leadership, sportsmanship, integrity, respect and responsibility. The Athletic Department encourages the development of these values for the attainment of life-long learning and achieved success.