BIRTHPLACE: Cambridge, Mass.
BORN: July 11, 1907
TEAMS/ASSOCIATIONS: Boston College
John "Snooks" Kelley grew up loving hockey and went on to become a star player for Cambridge Latin and Dean Academy before enrolling at Boston College. There, from 1928-30, he emerged as the Eagles top player, graduating in 1930, just after the stock market had wiped out hockey as a varsity sport.
On Jan. 8, 1933 he agreed to coach a group of BC students. The job was part-time and without pay, complementing his teaching at Cambridge Latin. he gave up playing the game with the Boston Hockey Club at that time to begin an unprecedented stint, broken only by the war years of 1942-46, when he serve din the Navy. Kelley's career reached a high point in March 1949 when his Eagles won the NCAA title, defeating fellow Hall of Fame enshrinee Eddie Jeremiah's Dartmouth team, 4-3.
In all, Kelley's teams were invited to the NCAA Tournament nine times, more than any other Eastern team. They were the first Eastern team to win the title in a series that had been dominated by teams from the West. Over the years teams under Kelley traveled more than 80,000 miles on road trips, spreading the gospel of college hockey for American youth. He steadfastly refused to recruit players from Canada because he felt that to do so would deprive American boys of a chance to develop their hockey potential in elite competition.
Other accomplishments included eight New England Championships, nine appearances in the ECAC Division I playoffs, one ECAC playoff crown and eight Beanpot Tournament titles. in 1959 and 1972 he received the Spencer Penrose Award as College Hockey's Coach of the Year. In addition, 16 of his players won All-American honors while several went on to play for U.S. Olympic and National Teams. Topping it all off was Kelley's career record of 501 victories, 242 losses and 15 ties.