Jack Kelley coached Boston University to NCAA championships in 1971 and 1972, while taking the Terriers to four NCAA tournaments altogether over a 10-year span. At the professional level, his Hartford Whalers teams in the professional World Hockey Association were East Division champions three times and won the AVCO Cup playoff title in 1973.
While his coaching exploits at Boston University and Colby College, and later at Hartford, gained fame for Jack Kelley, he had earlier been an outstanding hockey player. In 1945 at Belmont High School, he was named the top Boston schoolboy performer. In 1949, Kelley competed on an AHAUS team and went to Boston University, leading the Terriers to the NCAA finals in 1950 and 1951. He was also named their most valuable player and all-ECAC in 1952.
Kelley began his coaching career at Weston High School, where he handled football, baseball, and hockey. From 1955 to 1962, he guided Colby College to the upper echelon of ECAC hockey. The lure of coaching his alma mater brought Kelley back to BU in 1962, and in addition to their national success, his teams won six Beanpot Tournament titles.
"We were about half Canadians in those days, but we had a lot of great players and some balanced teams, " Kelley recollected. When the rebel WHA organized, Kelley formed the Whalers franchise and helped U.S. and collegiate players obtain professional opportunities. Kelley's overall college coaching record was 303-147-13 and his pro record 77-55-6.
He later worked for the Detroit Red Wings, running their affiliate at Glens Falls, N.Y. In 1993, he was hired as president of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Kelley and his wife, Virginia, have three sons and a daughter