John Kelly grew up in Sugar Hill, so to get the opportunity to coach in his hometown seemed like a dream job.
Kelly was named Lanier's head softball head coach on Monday, replacing Alicia Compton.
"This is where I grew up, so it's like coming home," Kelly said. "With a background in baseball, it seemed like something fun to do."
Kelly has never coached softball, but he certainly has an extensive background on the diamond.
The 1986 North Gwinnett grad played four years of college baseball at Kennesaw State. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1990 and spent five years with the organization and then two years with the Detroit Tigers.
Kelly also played internationally with one year in the Dominican Republic, one year in Venezuela and two years in Mexico.
Once he retired from baseball, Kelly owned his own landscaping company. He recently got into the education field. He returned to Kennesaw State to get his degree in 2010 and spent last year coaching at Berkmar.
Last fall he was an assistant on the Lanier football team and is the pitching coach for the baseball team.
"I'm just very proud to have this job," Kelly said. "I'm ready to get started."
Lanier will enter its third year this fall.
The Longhorns were 9-18 last season, including 6-7 in Region 8-AAA and 10-13 in 2010. Kelly will inherit a very young roster, which has two rising seniors and a large rising junior class.
"I want to build it into a solid program and start developing players for the future," Kelly said.
THE KELLY FILE
Name: John Kelly
New position: Head softball coach at Lanier
Old position: Assistant football and baseball coach at Lanier
Education: Graduated from North Gwinnett in 1986; Graduated from Kennesaw State with a bachelor's degree in health and physical eduction in 2010. Certified in special education.
Background: Was a three-sport standout at North Gwinnett in football, basketball and baseball; member of the North Gwinnett Hall of Fame; played four years of baseball at Kennesaw State University, earning All-American honors; was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1990, spending five years in the organization and spent two years with the Detroit Tigers; owned landscaping company for 14 years; returned to Kennesaw State to receive degree in 2010; coached one year at Berkmar
Family: Wife Cheryl and daughter Alexa, 17