“The goal is to make these men better people”

New RWU baseball coach preps his team for the season and for life

When he was hired as the university’s new head baseball coach last December, Kevin Kelley did not get the opportunity to know his team like a new coach normally would. Kelley first met his team over Zoom, where he wanted to introduce himself and let the team know what they were getting.

“I had my first meeting with the guys right after I was appointed. I wanted them to know what they were getting which was an energized coach full of intensity,” Kelley said.

Kelley wanted to do everything in his power to be able to establish relationships with the players right off the bat. He scheduled individual meetings with each of the 43 members on the baseball team.

“I asked about their family, what they like to do for fun, if they had a job and I had them elaborate on those in order to create a bond as much as I possibly could over Zoom,” Kelley said.

Once a person to person relationship is created, there is a trust that is established between player and coach. He values this interpersonal relationship.


“I think that trust is the most important part of being a coach,” Kelley said. “I want them to trust every move I make and I want to trust theirs and how you do that is by asking about their personal lives. That is something that I believe distinguishes good coaches from great coaches.”

Kelley came into this role with some experience as a collegiate athlete. He played baseball at Suffolk University where he started as a walk-on player and worked his way to become a three-year starting player and captain of the team his senior year. He also was the previous Head Coach at Rutgers University-Newark and Associate Head Coach of University of Massachusetts Boston.

As for RWU’s baseball program, Kelley plans to build a program for sustainable success.

“The goals for the program are to recruit talent, retain talent and develop talent,” Kelley said. “It is all about academics as well and getting a student athlete who can handle the rigors of college baseball.”


Kelley will also be teaching his players how to be better people.

“Every Wednesday, we talk about something that will make them a better person, whether it will be how to tie a tie or just how to have a conversation with somebody,” Kelley said. “Baseball aside the goal has everything to do with building you men that will help society in a positive way.”


Captain Danny Roth, a graduate student on the team, said Kelley pushes them all to be the best.

“Coach Kelley pushes us to get better every day. I know it has only been a couple weeks but it feels like he has been my coach for years and he is really good at developing relationships with us. It has been really great so far,” Roth said.

Kelley has various goals for the team, including to win 30 or more games, have the team become a force within the region, win regular season, conference playoff and make it to regionals.


“There is one goal that we will try to achieve and that is win the game that is in front of us,” Kelley said.

Joey Gulino is also a team captain and graduate student on the baseball team. He said Kelley is a players first type of coach.


“He is really great with creating good relationships with everyone on our team,” Gulino said. “He came in here with a plan and a goal for us to be successful and to win.”

Chris Flynn, senior captain on the baseball team, said the two assistant coaches Kelley has brought in have been great too.

“They seem to be working really well together. We have seen a lot of progress within our team during this past month alone,” Flynn said.

Coach Kelley is looking forward to being able to go out and compete with the team.

“After losing baseball for a year it puts things into perspective. Every day is not guaranteed and neither is every baseball season,” Kelley said.


“I will be making relationships with all the players on the team that will last a lifetime.”