LOUISVILLE (KY) – Francis Parker School of Louisville recently named Mike Kelley its new Athletic Director. Kelley, who is originally from Newark, New York, takes over the Athletic Department and is eager to elevate Wyvern athletics to a new level.
Kelley has led the development of athletic culture and successful basketball programs at all levels, from teaching beginning athletes in middle school to coaching competitive college teams. His involvement in athletics began early in life. As a basketball player in high school, his talent earned him a place in the Newark High School Basketball Hall of Fame. In college, he was a team captain and four-year varsity letter winner at St. Lawrence University, where he earned his BA in sociology.
As a coach, Kelley brings an outstanding history of excellence to Francis Parker. After studying Athletic Administration at the University of Richmond, Kelley became the assistant athletic director at Sullivan County Community College. He then became Sullivan’s men’s basketball coach, compiling a .755 winning percentage over three seasons. In his first season as a coach, he led the team to a National Championship in the 1995-96 NJCAA Division III. Kelley was named the Mid-Hudson Conference Coach of the Year for the 1995-1996 season and the National Junior College Coach of the Year in 1996.
Kelley then continued coaching throughout his career at a variety of public and private schools. In the last decade, he has built competitive and winning programs at a top-ranked academic high school (Academic Magnet High School in North Charleston, South Carolina, where his boys’ varsity team won the first regional title at the Class AA level in school history) and at the private boarding school level (Dublin School in Dublin, New Hampshire, where his girls’ varsity team won the school’s first New England Championship in basketball in school history).
In addition to coaching and working in athletic departments, Mike has served in a variety of roles in schools, including as a special education teacher, dorm head, international student coordinator, and assistant director of diversity, equity, and inclusion. He is excited to begin directing every aspect of the Francis Parker athletic program and building the culture at Francis Parker that he has created on so many teams throughout his career.
Kelley is thrilled to join the Francis Parker team: “After meeting the leadership team, teachers, coaches, and student-athletes, the decision to come to Francis Parker School and serve the community as Athletic Director required about a nanosecond of thought. The words that describe this role are simple – a unique and incredible opportunity.”
Head of School and alumna Alexandra Thurstone said, “Hiring Mike as our new AD is the realization of our dream of taking Francis Parker Athletics to new heights. In my 20-year tenure asHead of School, I have focused on improving all aspects of the School’s programs, and now it is time for us to focus on Athletics, especially as we work towards building the High School’s Athletic and Wellness Center on our Downtown Campus. As a former Wyvern athlete myself and the parent of two Wyvern athlete graduates, I truly believe in the power of athletics to transform lives and as an integral part of any well-rounded education. Our goal now is to ensure a consistently strong program, from Lower School through High School and in every sport we offer, that will help each athlete improve and reach their personal goals, whether that’s playing in college or just being a strong contributor to their high school team.”
Francis Parker currently fields teams in nine different sports with soccer, field hockey, basketball, cross country, and track beginning in Lower School and baseball, volleyball, bowling, and tennis adding in Middle or High School. Kelley will direct the entire JK-12 Francis Parker athletic program, as well as coach the girls’ varsity basketball team.
“My initial goals are to instill a culture of daily accountability, growth, and competitiveness within each team; promote growth and synergy among all levels, grades, and teams; and constantly promote the Wyvern athletic program in our community, and everywhere in Louisville,” said Kelley.
“Mike has the skills, presence, and charisma, as well as the ambition, needed to help take our entire JK-12 athletic program to new heights,” said Thurstone. “Along with our Associate Athletic Director, Shavar Cowherd, Mike will work to ensure that all levels of Francis Parker Athletics provide an excellent experience for our students year after year. I am so excited for the future of Wyvern athletics! Go Wyverns!”