Remembering Legendary Hockey Coach Jack Kelley

Jack Kelley

John “Jack” Kelley transformed Colby men’s hockey into an indomitable force beginning in the 1950s.

Kelley, who passed away Sept. 16, 2020, in Oakland, Maine at the age of 93, left a lasting legacy at Colby and had a profound impact on the lives of hundreds of student athletes. 

“The term ‘legendary’ is used too often and frequently with hyperbole,” said President David A. Greene. “But it is no exaggeration to say that Jack Kelley was a legendary coach, teacher, and friend. He was a brilliant hockey coach, but his lessons went well beyond the ice. He had a rare combination of toughness and caring that brought out the best in everyone.”

From 1955 to 1962, Kelley coached Colby’s men’s hockey team, which posted a record of 89-51-5. With a 16-1 record, the Mules dominated the Colby-Bowdoin rivalry during that time. Colby earned the lead in ECAC standings in 1962 with a 17-1 record. After the 1961-62 season, Kelley left for his alma mater, Boston University, then returned to Colby to coach for the 1976-77 season. That year, Colby’s young team went on to beat Division I Northeastern for Kelley’s 300th career victory.

In 2015 alumni, parents, and friends came together to create the Jack Kelley Head Coach for Colby Men’s Hockey position in his honor.

A loyal supporter of the College and Colby Athletics, Kelley was regularly seen cheering on the Mules from the stands in the Alfond Rink surrounded by friends and former players.

A full press release on Kelley is online.