ACS: J.M. Kelly, Texas A&M-Kingsville

J.M. Kelly
Texas A&M-Kingsville, Kingsville, Texas
Offical Bio
Hometown: Buna, Texas
Education: Lamar University; East Central University
Twitter: @

HUGE Disclaimer: After completing this feature a mere few weeks ago, Coach Kelly accepted an offer to become the new head baseball coach at East Central College in Union, Missouri. Congratulations!

The moment you first realized that you might like to make coaching part of your career.

I knew before my playing career was over. I knew when I got to college and went through my first D1 season that coaching college baseball was what I wanted to do.

Outside of mentors, talk about one or more ways you’ve learned some aspect of coaching.

Mentors are obviously crucial in any career field and my experience is no different. Listening. Young coaches, myself included, think they know so much about the game. Coaching isn’t just about knowing the game. It’s about knowing your players and the people you work with everyday. Sometimes it’s okay to just listen and learn.

Tony Wolfe talks about Goals vs. Purpose. Kevin Wilson calls it your “Why”. What is your purpose or “why” for coaching?

I love the interactions with the players. I love hearing about their fishing trip, or maybe the movie they saw with their girlfriend. My “why” is the players and the relationships that I’ve been fortunate enough to build with them over the years. There is nothing greater than having a player come back or invite you to their wedding or share with you how their professional career is going!

If you could go back to your rookie coach self and give one piece of advice, what would it be?

Shut up and listen. Where you played and what you accomplished as a player has nothing to do with how good of a coach you are.

What is your favorite memory from a coaching conference or clinic?

I don’t have a singular memory from either of the two, but I will tell you that as a young coach it was going in and listening to all those experienced coaches present their topics. Now that I’ve been doing this and built relationships, it’s great to be able to see old friends and meet new ones!

Best career or work advice you ever received.

Talk slow and don’t get worked up in moments of excitement. Slow your mind down and enjoy the conversation. Excitement will lead you in a ton of directions; keep your composure and stay on topic and on task.

Your dream lunch date. One coach. Any sport. Any level. Living or dead. Who is it?

Mike Leach. I actually typed this out before any of his complications or his passing. I have been a Mike Leach fan since I was just a kid in the early 2000’s. I’ve always been fascinated with his ability to just be himself in such a stressful and demanding job.

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