Penn-Trafford hires Doug Kelly to coach boys basketball

Monday, June 15, 2020 | 10:18 PM

Doug Kelly has gained a measure of perspective since he last served as a head boys basketball coach in the WPIAL.

He has lost loved ones, acquired many friends and listened to words of wisdom, all the while building up to his next venture.

“I feel that I am ready. I am more prepared for the second time,” said Kelly, who has hired Monday night as the boys basketball coach at Penn-Trafford. “I have learned so much from so many people. This is a tribute to them. I decided the time is now to get busy. What am I waiting for?”

Kelly, 50, was the coach at Franklin Regional for eight years, from 2001-09 and won 87 games and a section title, in 2008.

He served as an assistant for two years on the staff of the man he is replacing, Jim Rocco, who resigned last month after five seasons. Kelly is a counselor at Newlonsburg Elementary in the Franklin Regional School District.

“I know I couldn’t find a better place to coach again,” Kelly said. “It’s exciting. Jim left the program in a good spot with all the skill work he put in. Jim has been doing this a while: He probably has forgotten more about basketball than I know.”

The idea of learning from people along the way has resonated with Kelly. Names and voices from the past have come racing back.

Kelly said a former player at Franklin Regional, Corey Friend, once told him something that stuck.

“He said, ‘Coach, you think you know what’s going on (behind the scenes) with the team. You don’t,’” Kelly said. “That really made me think.”

Later, Rick Klimchock, who was coaching Jeannette’s boys at the time, told Kelly he was perhaps too enamored with every possession — empty possessions.

“I understood what he meant,” Kelly said. “There is more to coaching than every play of every game. I lost the focus of the process. It’s about relationships. The kids want to have a voice.”

Kelly, who is from Elkins, W. Va., and played college basketball at Davis & Elkins, said he doesn’t plan to be overbearing with his players, but he will expect a level of respect and work ethic.

“There will be no handouts,” he said. “The kids know me well enough, but they know what I need from them. When I came to Franklin Regional, I wasn’t one of these gym rat coaches. It’s not always about the amount of time you spend. It’s how you use it.”

Kelly also has coached at the middle school level, worked as an assistant with the Penn-Trafford girls and led his own AAU program, “School of Hoops.”

He said he plans to implement summer camps at Penn-Trafford.

His son, Sean, was a standout guard for the Warriors a few years ago.

He now is playing at York College. Sean Kelly would like to get into coaching after college.

“Sean, and my wife, were very supportive and said I should get back into coaching,” Doug Kelly said. “That warms my heart.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at or via Twitter .


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