Check out the latest look into Nittany Lion track and field practice
Coaching Awards and Honors ...
During the 2013-14 season, Coach Kelly's group improved on the success from the previous year. Coach Kelly led the Nittany Lions to three First Team All-America finishes, six NCAA First Round qualifiers, four Big Ten medalists, 12 Big Ten scoring performances, two Big Ten Athletes of the Week and two Penn State school records.
For his success on the men's team during the 2014 outdoor season, Kelly was named the 2014 USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Region Men's Outdoor Assistant Coach of the Year. He had athletes score in every event in which he has athletes, accounting for 38 of the program's 78 points at the Big Ten meet. In addition, Steve Waithe won the league's triple jump title. Kelly qualified three for the NCAA final rounds - including two triple jumpers and a decathlete.
Redshirt Freshman Robert Cardina moved up the record books in the multi-events and ended the year with First Team All-American honors. Cardina owns the school record in the heptathlon (5,511) and his score of 7,666 in the decathlon ranks second all-time at Penn State. His score of 7,666 gave him an eighth-place finish in the decathlon at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships garnering him First Team All-American honors.
Joining Cardina in Eugene, Ore., was junior Waithe and Brian Leap. Waithe transferred to the Nittany Lions and made an immediate impact in the triple jump event. In the indoor season, Waithe tallied a distance of 52-6 (16.00) in the triple jump, which ranks tied for second all-time. In the outdoor Penn State record books, Waithe ranks fourth in the triple jump 52-8.75 (16.06).
At the Big Ten and NCAA levels, Waithe enjoyed major success. At the 2014 Indoor Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championships, he finished second in the triple jump (51-7.25) and eighth in the long jump (51-10.5). At the 2014 Outdoor Big Ten Track & Field Championships, Waithe claimed the triple jump title (52-0) and placed fourth in the long jump (24-0.25).
Waithe tallied First Team All-American honors at both 2014 NCAA Championship meets. At the 2014 Indoor NCAA Track & Field Championships, Waithe placed sixth in the triple jump (51-10.5) and at the 2014 Outdoor Track & Field Championships, he finished fifth in the triple jump (52-11.5). Leap also qualified for the 2014 Outdoor NCAA Track & Field Championships in the triple event. Leap went on to finish 16th in the triple jump (51-6.5) and was named a Second Team All-American. His lifetime-best mark of 51-6.5 ranks seventh all-time at Penn State.
In the pole vault, freshman Lexi Masterson set the second-best mark (13-1.75) all-time at Penn State during the indoor season and she claimed the school record during the outdoor season with her height of 13-3.5. On the men's team, Dylan Bilka moved into fifth (16-8.75) all-time at Penn State during the outdoor season.
Kelly enjoyed a productive opening campaign with the Nittany Lions in 2012-13, coaching one USTFCCCA Honorable Mention All-American, three NCAA Eastern Preliminary Round qualifiers, two Big Ten medalists, and one Penn State record holder.
Kelly coached a trio of high flyers in the high jump during the 2013 campaign with senior Sean Reilly, junior Jon Hendershot, and sophomore Michael McClelland all bettering the seven-foot barrier during the indoor season. McClelland was a top Nittany Lion during the indoor season, clearing a lifetime-best 7-1 (2.16).
Hendershot and Reilly continued to improve during the outdoor season, led by Hendershot's school-record tying leap of 7-3.25 (2.22) at the Jim Thorpe Invitational. Reilly would enjoy a stellar final season in the Blue and White, clearing a career-high 7-2.25 (2.19) at the LSU Battle on the Bayou. Reilly continued to excel into the postseason, qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the event, where we would finish 19th overall to earn USTFCCCA Honorable Mention All-America status. Both Hendershot and Reilly were consistent throughout the year, as the pair of Nittany Lions turned in scoring finishes at both the Big Ten Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
Horizontal jump specialist Brian Leap also shined under Kelly's watch in 2013, earning bronze-medal finishes in the triple jump at both the Big Ten Indoor and Outdoor Championships. Kelly guided Leap to outstanding improvements during the year, as the then-sophomore improved his lifetime-best effort in the triple jump to 50-10.25 (15.50) during the indoor season. Leap also made great strides in the long jump, ending the season with a personal-best 24-0.25 (7.32) at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, which was also good for a fifth-place finish in the competition.
Kelly signed on at Penn State in the summer of 2012 after enjoying a highly successful 11-year coaching stint at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Prior to his departure from New Brunswick, he was overseeing the efforts of all the Scarlet Knights field event athletes.
Kelly was also successful on the recruiting trail in 2013, adding in transfer triple jump standout Steve Waithe from Shippensburg University. Waithe was the PSAC Indoor and Outdoor Champion in the his signature event, and went on to All-America finishes at both Divison II Championships in 2013. Kelly also welcomes in-state sensation Cody Minnig from Neshaminy High School. With a PR of 10.73, Minnig was the No. 6 ranked Pennsylvania prep in the 100 meters in 2013, coming away with a fifth-place finish at the PIAA Outdoor Championships. Minnig was just as successful at the PFTCA State Championships during his senior indoor season, finishing second in the 60, third in the long jump, and fifth in the 200. Minnig boasts a long jump PR of 23-8.
On the women's side, Kelly adds standout pole vaulter Lexi Masterson from Hempfield Area. Masterson was the PIAA runner-up in the event as a senior, and owns a lifetime-best clearance of 12-0.
"We're honored to have Kevin Kelly join coaching staff as he brings a wealth of experience in east coast recruiting and competitiveness," said Director and Head Coach of Track and Field/Cross Country Beth Alford-Sullivan upon Kelly's hiring. "His resume speaks for itself, as he is a first class coach, educator, and team player. We're excited be starting the new year with Kevin at the helm of the men's jumps."
Kelly arrived at Rutgers in 2001, helping the Scarlet Knights to outstanding success in the Big East Conference, including three conference team titles. Individually, Kelly has guided 19 Big East Champions, as well as 45 All-Big East performers. In 2004, his athletes swept the top three spots in the decathlon at the Big East Outdoor Championships. Over his career, Kelly has led six athletes to the NCAA Championships.
An outstanding athlete in his own right, Kelly was a three-time All-American in the decathlon while competing at Kutztown University, earning runner-up honors at the 1998 NCAA Outdoor Championships. In 1998, Kelly, who still owns Kutztown school records in the decathlon and 110-meter hurdles, was named Pennsylvania State Athlete Conference (PSAC) Athlete of the Year. He is also a Kutztown Hall of Fame inductee, and a member of the Golden Bears' "Top 30 Athletes of the 20th Century" Kelly earned his B.A in Political Science in 1999.
Prior to Rutgers, Kelly spent several seasons at Lehigh University, coaching all Mountain Hawk throwers. He is married to Maisha Kelly, who is a Senior Associate Director of Athletics and Senior Woman Administrator at Bucknell University.