CLARION, Pa. – Director of Athletics Dr. Wendy Snodgrass announced today that Bree Kelley will have her interim tag removed and officially become the head swimming & diving coach for both the men’s and women’s teams. She had previously served as the interim head coach since partway through the 2016-17 season, and before that was an assistant coach for seven seasons.
“I am excited and honored to have the opportunity to announce that Bree Kelley has accepted the position of head coach of our swimming and diving programs,” Snodgrass said. “Since taking over as interim coach our programs have shown tremendous growth and improvement in the pool and in the classroom. It is a testament to the passion Bree holds for Clarion, and I am confident she will continue to leave her mark on our program.”
A former 12-time NCAA Division II All-American at Clarion from 2003-06, Kelley was in her seventh season as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Clarion before taking the interim head coach job in 2016. The team has performed well with her at the helm, with both the men and women taking fourth at PSAC Championships in 2018. This year the men’s team featured three conference champions, including Ben Spencer, Joe Folz, and the 800 Free Relay Team, the last of which was Clarion’s first relay champion in many years and came within fractions of a second of breaking a 25-year program record. On the women’s side, Summer Dacheux won the 100 Back at PSAC Championships for the second straight year, and Letizia Collini was the conference’s Champion Scholar with a perfect 4.00 GPA.
Kelley was integral in the success of the swimming programs in her time as an assistant coach, including a fourth-place finish for the women’s team at the NCAA Championships in 2011. The Golden Eagle women were second at PSAC Championships and 17th in the nation in 2013, and finished 15th at NCAA Championships in 2015. The men’s side has also excelled at the national meet with Kelley as an assistant, taking 15th in 2012, 17th in 2013, 13th in 2014, and 18th in 2015.
As an athlete, Kelley was among the best Clarion had to offer in the mid-2000’s. She was a 12-time All-American that helped Clarion to PSAC team championships in 2004 and 2006 as well as second-place finishes in 2003 and 2005. The Golden Eagles finished fifth at the NCAA Championships in 2004, 10th in both 2003 and 2005, and 11th in 2006.
Kelley’s best individual finish at the NCAA Championships came in 2004 when she placed eighth in the nation in the 200 Fly. She placed ninth in the event in 2006 for the other top-10 national finish in her career, and earned 12th place in 2005. In 2004 she also placed 14th in the 100 Fly, 15th in the 400 IM, in 2005 she placed 14th in the 200 IM, and in 2006 she also placed in the 100 Fly. Kelley was also part of multiple All-American relay efforts.
A 2006 graduate of Clarion with a degree in Elementary Education, Kelley is married to strength and conditioning coach Jesse Kelley. The couple have a son, Declan.
Below is Kelley’s full statement:
“I am honored to serve as head swimming and diving coach. It is a surreal and unbelievable feeling to think I went from being a swimmer here, coming back to Clarion as an assistant and helping the program improve, and now getting the opportunity to lead the program. I have high expectations and I am sure our swimmers now will tell you that. Those aspirations and goals come from where I grew up, how I was raised, and from my time here as an athlete. We won championships in two of my four years. We competed for championships every year. If we were not in first we were second. I expect us to get back to that. Our proud alumni expect that out of this program. I know exactly how high the expectations are for the program, and it has already begun with our current team. Our student-athletes know that and they are feeling that every day. I push them hard and I am proud of where we have taken this program.
“Because of the renovations coming to Tippin Natatorium, next year certainly brings some unknowns and some challenges, not the least of which is that we will be without a pool for a period of time. We will take it all in stride and use every challenge to shape us and change us for the better. I look forward to working hard every day for our student-athletes, alumni, administration and university to make sure we have quality swimmers and divers, competing at the highest level, but also graduating and having the confidence to tackle any obstacle in life. I want them to be proud of their time at Clarion and feel the same way I feel about our university. It is truly an honor and I’m excited to continue building the future of this program.”