WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – Williams College Athletic Director Harry Sheehy announced today that Aaron Kelton has been named the Ephs' head football coach, succeeding Mike Whalen who left Williams to return to coach his alma mater Wesleyan University.
Kelton comes to Williams from Columbia University, where he has served as the Lions defensive coordinator for the last two seasons after having served the two previous seasons as secondary coach.
"I'm thrilled that Aaron and his wife Charlotte will be joining the Williams athletic family and college community," said Sheehy. "The search committee was impressed with Aaron's energy and passion for teaching the game of football to young men, and this passion resonated with people on our campus throughout the process. He'll be a tireless teacher, coach, and recruiter. Current and future Eph football players will be inspired and challenged to reach for their potential under Aaron's tutelage. It's with much enthusiasm that we call on him to carry forward the great tradition that is Williams football."
That tradition was a key attraction for Kelton. "I'm ecstatic to have this opportunity to carry on the great tradition of Williams football and work on building it to the level it should be at each year," Kelton said. "As the head coach it will be my job to assist in all phases of the football team, from offense to defense to special teams. I'll work with the defensive backs but will not be the offensive or defensive coordinator. My job is to lead the team and build the program.
"We'll work hard and do what needs to be done. The goal every year will be to go 8-0."
Kelton will try to finish up loose ends at Columbia as quickly as possible so he can get right to work at Williams. "I plan to make some day trips until I can finish up at Columbia, but Charlotte and I are very excited to be joining the Williams family and living in Williamstown. Everyone we've met has been so warm and welcoming. This is exciting."
Kelton inherits a Williams team that is coming off a 6-2 season and will return 18 of 22 starters, including 6 of 11 that earned All-NESCAC honors in 2009. The Ephs-will open the 2010 season at home on September 25th vs. Bowdoin. The season ending Little Three games vs. Wesleyan and Amherst will close out Kelton's first campaign in November. Mike Whalen's Wesleyan team will be the Homecoming tilt on Weston Field on November 6 and the traditional season finale -- "The Biggest Little Game in America" -- will be played at Amherst on November 13.
Under Kelton the Columbia Lions fielded one of the Ivy League's top defensive backfields. Kelton developed DB Tad Crawford '07, who was a high draft choice in the Canadian Football League. In addition to his on field duties at Columbia, Kelton was the Lions' recruiting coordinator in the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
A native of Massachusetts Kelton was born in Boston and graduated from Wellesley [MA] High School, where he was a three-sport athlete, competing in football, basketball, and baseball. He graduated from Springfield College in 1992 with a B.S. in psychology and lettered all four years for the Pride in football, starting two years at quarterback.
Kelton received prized NFL Summer Internships, which enabled him to serve as a member of the coaching staff of the Indianapolis Colts in 2007, Jacksonville Jaguars in 2008, and the Arizona Cardinals in 2009. He also attended the NCAA Expert Coaches Academy in Miami in May 2006.
Kelton is currently working on completing an M.Ed. in integrated studies from Virginia State.
What they are saying about Aaron Kelton:
Norries Wilson, head football Coach Columbia University
"I'm ecstatic that Williams College has selected Aaron. It will be a great loss for us but a phenomenal opportunity for him.
"He will bring a high level of excitement with him, a great intensity and drive to win. With all of that, he will make it fun for the kids.
"Aaron helped us to gain a measure of respectability for our program, and I'm sure he'll continue in the long line of Springfield College grads and become a great head coach at Williams."
Mike Delong, 27-year head football coach at Springfield College
"Aaron Kelton is an outstanding young man, who did not talk much about coaching when he was here. Most of our kids who go into coaching go through here as GAs [graduate assistants], but Aaron went back to Wellesley High School to start his coaching career. He took a non-traditional route into coaching and he has just worked and worked his way up the ladder to be a coordinator in the Ivy League and now the head coach at Williams. Hard work and an impressive personal character have characterized Aaron's career. He's an outstanding person, and I'm sure he'll be an outstanding head coach.
"I can still see him running a naked bootleg for a TD against Norwich in the rain. He was a great athlete for us and we're extremely proud that he's going to be the next head coach at Williams."
Mike London, head football coach at the University of Virginia
"Aaron is a great communicator, which is essential in any leadership position. He possesses great energy and enthusiasm and is very dedicated to his coaching. He takes great pride in teaching players how to play the right way and he's very detail-oriented. He'll get the best out of all of his players.
"Aaron is a man of great character, who will make an impact on the Williams program through hard work, communication, and preparation."
Ernest Jones, associate head football coach, University of Buffalo
"I met Aaron about 8-9 years ago when we were both doing the NFL and NCAA minority coaching programs and I was impressed right away. He's smart, articulate, and with his commitment to his faith he'll do things the right way and he'll represent your program very well. Your kids will love him. The alumni will love him and the community will love him. I know his heart and I know his spirit, and when you folks get to know him you will know what a great hire you made.
"Every place I've been, and my last stop was at the University of Cincinnati with Brian Kelly (now head coach at Notre Dame), I recommended we hire Aaron. My last offer to him was to be a defensive coordinator, but he told me he really wanted to be a head coach.
"Aaron is a great motivator and he'll make sure that the young men who play for him do everything they can to be ready to compete and they'll do things the right way all the time."
KiJuan Ware, running backs coach, Miami (OH)
"When I visited Springfield College as a prospective student-athlete I saw Aaron's picture on the wall as an African-American quarterback and I said to myself, that's going to be me.
"Throughout our careers we've stayed in constant contact – bouncing ideas and suggestions off each other, talking football, and coaching the game.
"Aaron is a leader in every sense of the word. Every place he's coached his defensive unit has been nationally ranked and the kids love to play for him. He will make it exciting for the Williams players for sure.
"We've been close friends for a long time. He's going to be a force to be reckoned with in the NESCAC. He'll bring a new energy to Williams football. I'm going to enjoy following his teams."