PRLB COACH OF THE YEAR: Bryan Kelly, Calvert Hall
It’s always been fascinating to watch the Kelly family come through Calvert Hall and succeed on the lacrosse field and then move onto do well at the next level.
It’s a tight knit, Catholic family that values God and manners.
I’ve interviewed every one of the Kelly boys and Coach Bryan Kelly, and it’s always “yes sir” answers and they thank the media for the coverage we do for Calvert Hall. They care about the game and most importantly people.
This season was a special one for Calvert Hall as the team rallied around assistant coach Dave Huntley who passed away during the offseason. Huntley, was a father figure to the boys and was a great man to be around because he truly loved the game. All season long the motto for the team was “LetsHunt
When the Cardinals won their back to back A-title two weeks ago, Huntley’s family was there on the sidelines. They Kelly’s made sure to include them in the championship celebration afterwards.
“The Kelly’s are like family to us and it was awesome how the whole team sort of played for my dad this season,” said Kevin Huntley, Dave’s son and Calvert Hall alum.
Bryan Kelly said the one word that would describe this season would be emotional after the final game of the regular season against Loyola.
Kelly has had to coach his team through some tough situations this season and overcome to adversity. Besides the passing of Huntley, the week of the MIAA championships senior Peter Ilardo’s father passed away.
The Cardinals coach said he was an emotional wreck all week with trying to get his team up and ready to try and repeat as A-conference champions, mourn the loss of Mr. Ilardo and make sure Peter was ok, invite the Huntleys and make the championship game mean so much to them since their father meant so much to the program. Oh and Kelly’s son, senior Jacob would be playing in his final game as a Cardinals for his dad.
Adversity and team chemistry can go hand in hand and that’s what you saw this season with Calvert Hall.
Kelly wasn’t looking for sympathy though and knew opponents were going to be looking to defeat one of the top teams in the country. But the lacrosse community is also tight knit and opposing teams made sure to recognize Huntley before each game which was very moving.
The Cardinals defeated Boys’ Latin on May 18, 8–6. It was the first time both teams played in a conference title game since the late 1970’s.
And this was the first time that Calvert Hall has won back to back championships since when the late Dick Edell coached the team. — Edell passed away this spring as well and was another loss weighing on the program and the entire lacrosse community.
Kelly joins legends John Tucker and Bob Shriver as the only coaches to win four conference championships.
But those stats don’t really matter much to Kelly. It’s being with his players and great coaching staff, working towards a common goal of winning. And also respecting the game the lord has been able to let them play.