FNF: Continuity is key for Fulton football
FULTON - Although the game of football is always evolving, there has been one constant for the Fulton Hornets over the last two decades: the coaches calling the shots.
Head coach Pat Kelley has been with the program for 22 years, with 20 of those years as head coach. For Kelley, the job of leading this program and being a part of the Fulton community has always been a passion.
"When I got here I told them this wasn't any kind of stepping stone job for me, that this is where I wanted to be," Kelley said. "It's just been comfortable. I love the sport of football. I love being around the kids and seeing their enthusiasm. I hope that I have some kind of impact on their lives other than the four years they spend in our program. All that keeps you motivated to go."
Kelley isn't the only one on the coaching staff who knows what it means to be a Hornet. Between Kelley, defensive coordinator John DeFily and offensive coordinator Darren Masek, Fulton has a combined 61 years worth of Hornet coaching on the sidelines.
"You get comfortable with guys and you kind of know what each one's doing." Kelley said. "I've been very fortunate in my coaching staff in the last 20 years, I've had great coaches. It's special because they're not just assistant coaches, they're friends. They're very good friends."
DeFily echoed the head coach's comments.
"We've grown older, maybe a little bit nicer, hopefully a little bit smarter in that time," DeFily said. "We've become great friends, and football is just an extension of that."
The experience in the coaching staff is not lost on the current Fulton players. Senior lineman David James has taken on more of a leadership role this season, and knows the experience his coaches have is invaluable.
"It means a lot," James said. "I know that we have good coaches behind us, and I know we've got someone to look up to."
For DeFily, Kelley could not be a more perfect leader for this program.
"He does things the right way, he treats kids the right way, and he cares about these kids," DeFily said. "When our kids walk out of here, and even while they're here, he'll tell them that he loves them and they know that he loves them. That's the way you run a football program."