Coach Kelley – Touching Students’ Hearts Since ’78

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Coach Kelley – Touching Students’ Hearts Since ’78

Coach Fred Kelley

Coach Fred Kelley

Coach Fred Kelley

Coach Fred Kelley

Sofia Sarak, Staff Writer

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In 1978, Frederick Kelley began his first year teaching at Stamford High School. More than 40 years later, he is still here – teaching, coaching, and acting as a loving father figure for teachers and students alike. What makes this man so special? 

 

Kelley spent nearly his entire life in Stamford. He attended St. Leo’s School in his childhood and later graduated from the Stamford Catholic School (now Trinity Catholic High School). He then continued his education at Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland and later Fairfield University, from which he graduated with a dual-certification Master’s degree in English and history. In regards to his athletic career, Kelley played both baseball and football in high school and throughout college, during which he also picked up rugby and skiing. After college, he began running as well. 

 

He came back to Stamford to pursue his passion for teaching; he always knew he wanted to be an English and history teacher.

 

During his time at Stamford High School, Kelley has taught a variety of both English and history classes. Now, he primarily teaches 12th grade English. When asked why he wanted to be a teacher, Kelley said that it just “felt natural”. He felt that he had “an innate ability to reach kids” as a teacher – and reach kids he did.

 

Victoria Torres, a senior at Stamford High, has had Kelley as her cross country coach for the past four years, and now has him as her English teacher. “He is the realest coach and teacher I’ve ever had,” she said. She described him as a “mentor”, and said he had always been there for her. 

 

His impact on the Stamford High community doesn’t stop with just the students. English Teacher Krista Deiana has known Kelley for 10 or 11 years now. They met during her first year of teaching at Stamford High, when their classrooms were near each other. “He took me under his wing,” Deiana said.  Kelley’s help came at a time in her career when she was still trying to figure everything out. He would always check on her, and even now, Deiana said that they still keep in contact. “I kind of think of him as my ‘work Dad’” she said.

 

Besides teaching, Kelley has also coached a wide variety of sports teams. Initially, following his own highschool interests, he coached both football and baseball. Kelley stated that football was “a very difficult but rewarding sport to coach.” After 25 years as being both a coach and helping out in the weight room during the postseason, 2008 was Kelley’s last year with Stamford High football.

However, he immediately stepped up as the boys’ and girls’ cross country assistant coach to FCIAC Hall of Fame Inductee Arthur Brown. Kelley has been the head coach since Brown’s retirement. 

 

During the spring season, Kelley pursued his athletic passions by coaching Stamford High School baseball for 28 years. Later, he continued on to coach boys tennis.

 

With his fall and spring seasons occupied, Kelley could not resist finding a winter sport to pursue. In 2015, Kelley helped lead the development of the Stamford High School and Westhill High School Co-Op Ski Team, becoming the original coach alongside Kevin DeAngelo of Westhill High School. Since its inception, the team has now grown to around 50 members that compete in alpine ski racing. Along with the team, Kelley is the advisor of the Ski and Snowboard Club at Stamford High School. 

 

“He’s amazing. Everytime I see him he gives me a hug,” said Senior Brayden Davis, a member of the ski team. “He is such a great guy.”

 

On the other hand, some emphasized Kelley’s fun personality. Andrew Bagan, a junior on the cross country team, shared a memory from practice. “When we did hills he would always be at the top, and either say a little joke or some motivation,” he said. Bagan admitted that although Kelley’s habit of making him laugh wasn’t the best for his running, it would always make the practice that much more enjoyable. 

 

Senior Jada Silverstein said she finds his classes entertaining because of his character. In fact, at the mention of his name in conversation, she began laughing and going on about how funny he is. She shared an anecdote that showcases his extravagant nature: “every time we take a test he stands on his desk to get an aerial view of the class.” Truthfully enough, picturing an English teacher jumping onto his desk in the middle of class could make anyone laugh. 

 

A lot has changed since 1978, but one thing that will always stay the same is Kelley’s welcoming and friendly personality, whether it be on the court or in the classroom. As a matter of fact, he is the kind of person that after finding out that I was writing a profile on him, stopped me in the hallway to give me a fistbump and call me “the best writer in the world.”

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