Brian Kelly is in his 20th year as head coach of the men's and women's water polo squads. The fourth coach in the history of the men's program and founder of the women's program, Kelly has guided his alma mater since 1995. His total combined wins from the two programs make him the winningest coach in Iona College athletics history.
Under Kelly, the men's squad has been nationally ranked five times. On the women's side, the Gaels posted 16 consecutive winning records, from 1998 to 2013, and claimed MAAC Championships in 2004, 2011, 2012 and 2013. The 2011 squad earned a program-high 26 wins, including a perfect 10-0 record in MAAC competition, and earned the Gaels their first national ranking. The season concluded with an eighth-place finish at the NCAA Championship in Ann Arbor, MI.
At the 2012 NCAA Championship, the Gaels earned their first ever win at the tournament in the seventh place game with an overtime victory over Pomona-Pitzer. The Maroon & Gold took eighth in the 2013 NCAA Championship, held in Cambridge, MA.
An eight-time coach of the year selection, Kelly was honored by the CWPA Northern Division in 2005 and the MAAC in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2012. He was also recognized by the women's CWPA NY Division in 1999 and the CWPA Northern Division in 2000, 2001 and 2003.
He has produced numerous CWPA all-stars, including All-Americans Billy Mulcrone in 2000, Chris Przekota in 2002 and 2003, Joe Przekota in 2010 and Ian Thompson and Jake Lloyd in 2014.
On the women's side, he coached All-Americans CC Leonard and Maggie Wood in 2011. Leonard repeated the honor in 2012 prior to Amy Olsen and Alyssa Turza joining the list of honorees in 2013. Olsen repeated the honor in 2014. In their All-American seasons, C. Przekota, J. Przekota, Lloyd, Wood and Olsen each led Division I in scoring.
Kelly was a standout player at Iona, playing for Iona Hall of Fame Coach Rob Calgi. In his four seasons as a starter, he helped the Gaels to a 74-46 (.616) record that included three Eastern Championship appearances along with three top twenty rankings. He was a three time All-Conference selection, a two time All-Eastern selection, and a two-time Co-MVP for Iona.
In 1993, Kelly, along with Mike Judge, was part of one of the deadliest one two combinations in Eastern history – tallying 298 total points. Kelly ended his career as Iona's sixth all-time leading scorer.
A native of Chicago, Kelly began his water polo career at an early age playing in the Chicago Park District Leagues for Ridge Park. He continued playing water polo throughout grammar school and into high school where he attended Brother Rice HS on the city's south side. There he played under former Olympian and Illinois Hall of Fame coach Jim "Moose" Mulcrone. He helped lead Br. Rice to two Illinois State Titles in '88 and '89. In 1990 he led all scorers in the state playoffs garnering 21 goals and was selected the MVP of the Illinois High School Water Polo. Prior to the 2007 season, Kelly was inducted into the Illinois Water Polo Hall of Fame. In April of 2012, he was inducted into the Br. Rice Athletics Circle of Champions Hall of Fame.
In the summer of 1990, Kelly was selected to the National Junior Development Team at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO. He was only one of two selections from outside the state of California to make the team and he beat out a field of over 120 athletes to be named the camp's 2-Meter MVP. The camp included several current and former USA National Team members including Wolf Wigo, Steve Gill, and Jack Bowen.
Kelly is an active year-round player with the Hudson Valley USWP club, which competes in the Eastern Water Polo League. He currently resides in Tuckahoe, NY.