Saturday marks final regular season GARC match for Mids
Navy head coach Bill Kelley enters his 16th year at the helm of the Navy rifle program, posting an outstanding 144-27 (.842) record. Since taking the program reigns at Navy, Kelley has transformed the Mids into a national power, competing for the NCAA title in 12 of the 15 years that he has been in charge.
During Navy's resurgence in rifle it has posted seven wins versus Army under Kelley.
Seventeen different athletes have earned All-America honors during Kelley's tenure, including Chris Burleson, who was a four-time All-American, including in both disciplines following the 2010 season. Of the five shooters in school history to earn All-American status all four years, three of them have come under Kelley's guidance (Kunzelman and Sarah Bergman and Chris Schneider in 2004-07).
In addition to the All-Americans, Kelley has coached several shooters to Junior Olympic and AAU victories. Six years ago, he helped a relatively unrecruited shooter, Lisa Kunzelman, earn a spot on U.S. Junior World Team and a top-30 finish at the World Championships in her first international competition.
Academically, Navy has been one of the top teams in the nation under Kelley's watch. The team posted a 100% APR in nine of 10 seasons from 2004 through 2013. Navy has also been a multiple time recipient of the NCAA's Public Recognition Award for its outstanding performance in the classroom.
The 2013-14 season marked the first official year of competition for Navy in the nation's premier conference, the Great American Rifle Conference (GARC). The Mids had a rough introduction in GARC action as one might expect with five of the NCAA's eight championship finalists making their home in the conference. Navy's first GARC win came on Nov. 16 against No. 13 North Carolina State, 4,627 to 4,596.
Navy finished 4-4 during the 2012-13 season, an immediate result of an increasingly difficult non-conference schedule versus a number of future GARC foes.
In 2011-12, the Mids finished 8-2 and claimed the MAC Championship for the 13th straight season, every year of Kelley's tenure.
Four years ago, Navy placed seventh in both the smallbore and air rifle disciplines at the NCAA Championships, while winning the MAC Championship with a 9-1 overall record. The Mids reached the NCAA Championships for the 20th straight season and won the Mid-Atlantic Rifle Conference team title. Kelley capped his 2010-11 season by being honored with the Robert Ketzner Service Award by the MAC for his service to the conference and the sport of rifle.
In 2010, Navy placed eighth at the NCAA Championships with a relatively young starting lineup, while finishing with an 8-1 overall record.
In 2009, the Mids placed seventh at the NCAA Championships, but were second in the air rifle discipline for the second straight year. The Mids posted a 17-1 mark, recording the most wins in a season in school history. In addition, three more Mids earned All-American honors, including air rifle first-teamer Lisa Kunzelman.
Seven years ago, Navy overcame a slow start to qualify for its 17th straight NCAA Championship. The Mids finished seventh in the smallbore competition, then flexed their muscles on day two, taking home runner-up accolades in the air rifle disciplines. Two more Mids, Josh Albright and Lisa Kunzelman, were named first-team All-Americans.
During 2007, senior Josh Albright became Navy's first national champion since 1996, when he won the smallbore competition at the NCAA Championship, rallying in the 10-shot finals. He had entered the finals in second, but surged ahead with his ninth shot in the finals, then held on with his final shot for the victory.
In 2006, the Mids placed fourth overall at the NCAA Championships, Navy's third consecutive top-five finish. In addition to the high placing at NCAAs, Kelley guided Navy to a 9-2 record and another MAC title.
In 2005, the Mids placed fifth at the NCAA Championship, posted an 11-0 dual-meet record and defeated Alaska-Fairbanks and Army in highly-anticipated dual meets.
In 2004, Navy rifle posted another impressive season, finishing third at the NCAA Championship as five Mids took home All-America honors. Kelley's Mids posted a second-place finish in air rifle.
During his previous four years, Kelley led the Mids to a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships in 2002 and a sixth-place finish in the NCAA Air Rifle Championship in 2003.
In his first year on The Yard (1999-2000), Kelley coached Navy to an undefeated season and a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships.
Prior to joining the Naval Academy family, Kelley served as the rifle coach at Cresap Rifle Club in Frederick, Md. While there, he trained countless highly successful shooters at local, regional and national matches. He also coached the fifth-ranked finalist at the National Junior Olympic Shooting Championship.
In 1992-95, Kelley coached the Maryland resident qualifier in the Junior Olympic Shooting Championship, and in 1995 he co-coached the National Intermediate Junior Champion Rifle Team.
In 1996, Kelley worked on the production staff for shooting events at the Olympic Games and World Cup in Atlanta. He received the Diploma of Honour Award from the Union Internationale de Tir (international Olympic governing body) for service to the shooting sports that same year.
Kelley is certified by the National Rifle Association (NRA) as a smallbore rifle coach. He was selected as one of approximately 30 coaches in the United States to train other coaches as a member of the National Coach Development Staff.
He authored Shooting is Fun...At Least it Used to Be, which addresses the problem of burnout among collegiate shooters and suggests remedies. The NRA Shooting Sports USA and NRA Shooting Education Update accepted the article for publication.
Kelley resides in Frederick, Md., with his wife, Liz. Kelley's youngest son, Josh, is a 2000 graduate of the Naval Academy and was a two-time All-American in rifle. Coach Kelley is the founder and owner of the Gun Center, a full-time retail store in Frederick, Md.