Companies

NCSA Recruiting Specialist

Teams

Edinboro University of PA
Marietta College, OH
Ohio Wesleyan University
Capital University, OH
San Francisco State University, CA (Associate Head Coach)
Valdosta State University, GA (Head Coach)
Widener University, PA (Head Coach)
Winnipeg Blue Bombers, CFL (Head Coach/GM)
Edmonton Eskimos, CFL
Orlando Rage, XFL
Philadelphia Eagles, NFL
Washington Redskins, NFL (Pro Personnel)

My Story

I have had some distinct moments that have influenced my life, but the one I want to share is about balance in life. I had none! I was putting so many hours into the different positions I held within football organizations that not only affected myself, but also my family. I remember working for the Philadelphia Eagles this one year.

I would get into the office at 5:30 AM on a Tuesday morning knowing I would not get the chance to lay down until after Midnight Wednesday, and then it was either on the couch in Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson’s office or on the floor in my office in a sleeping bag.  I then had to be back at my desk by 6:00 Thursday morning. Do that for 23 straight weeks and let me know how you feel physically at the end of it! I was providing all the information for the offensive staff so that our team would be most successful, but on one night, there was a price that was paid. My 2 daughters, who were just in 1st and 2nd grade, set their alarm at 2:30 AM so they could come into our bedroom and give Daddy a kiss goodnight. The problem: I was still working. My daughters asked my wife at the time, “doesn’t Daddy like your cooking anymore and why doesn’t Daddy ever come home?” Another time I remember was when a neighbor friend took my youngest daughter to a father/daughter pumpkin carving experience at the elementary school because I couldn’t get away from the office (I was working 80-100 hours a week in the NFL in an Offensive Assistant position).

As I reflect, I realized that I was providing all this information to our team so that they were successful, but none of my work I did ever reflected on me.  I knew others were reaping the benefit of all my work.

While I was trying to become this $Million Dollar a year guy, the only thing that I received was a frustrated family and a marriage that eventually ended.  I can remember having speaking engagements saying that there are no hours in a day, days in a week, weeks in a month or months in a year.  You just keep working to achieve your goal!  That was garbage! As I look back on my life, I realize that I put in way too much time into one area, and that was professionally. Even though I achieved a lot more than most, I did it all wrong in terms of balance in my life.

I’ve been a head college football coach twice, been to the NCAA Championship Play-offs and bowl games, a head coach and GM of a CFL franchise, helped to really start the CFL Draft Evaluation Camp, coached in two Grey Cup Championships, worked as a coach and in pro personnel in the NFL, coached in an NFC Championship Game and the Pro Bowl, directed a franchises inaugural draft in the original XFL and coordinated the offense of the team with the best regular season record and as a bonus, we made it through an entire season! I also prepared players for the NFL Draft working in player representation, so I’ve seen the business of football from every point of view.

But, just in the last month, I have gotten over my fight with myself and my past life of coaching. With the primary help of my longtime girlfriend and a few others, I have come to realize that even though I had a better career than 99% of the people out there, I should be content with that time in my life. I finally have settled this with myself and it is time for the next phase in life, which has been working with high school athletes. I work with Next College Student Athlete, a subsidiary of Reigning Champs, and help young men find college football opportunities.

Currently I live and work in Palm City, Florida as well as Winnipeg. My life is good, and I have the flexibility of working remotely which is a blessing.

My 3 daughters and “bonus daughter” are all doing well too. All my girls are driven, independent, and functioning at a high level from my perspective, but what I really appreciate, is that they have balance in their lives! They learned from my mistakes and have listened to me as they have grown and become women.  I cannot be more proud of them all.

My Advice

Before I share my advice, I wanted to talk a little bit about my Dad. My Father was an over achiever. He never went to college but rose to become CEO and President of a Fortune 500 Company and was a guest speaker at The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. I wanted to be like him. I thought that gathering sticks all day and hunting for food was what a man was supposed to do in essence. He never neglected us and gave us tremendous attention, but I did not do a good enough job of that. My family needed more than just support financially and so my advice is this: work smarter and more efficiently! I don’t want to hear about “grinding”…everybody grinds to make it through this world. Understanding time management, deciphering what is truly important, and setting priorities is the key. It took such a toll on my personal life and family life. You’ve seen it publicly with other highly visible coaches and the results of their focus professionally with neglect, intentionally or not of their families, some with horrifying results. It is never too late to learn from our mistakes, at any stage of life. I’d rather work “smart” than “hard”.

Comments

Mike, for a lot of years, I've seen how much the coaches were in their offices, but didn't realize the extent of the amount of hours of work that many of them put in! I don't know how any coach is able to balance life. I also have seen other professionals I know who put in many, many hours yet never get ahead! As I've talked to you more recently, you shared how you've finally come to grips with the things of your past and some of the mistakes like the unbalance of your life and I'm appreciative that you took your time to help encourage others who might be on a similar path. Your story is like taking some of the lemons of your life and helping others to make lemonade. I know your story will be touching as well as encouraging for men/women in all walks of life. I also look forward to helping you at NCSA and connecting you with athlete's that need a Coach/advisor like yourself. Thanks again for your time, your humility and transparency as well! Gary

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NCSA Athletic Recruiting

Athletic Recruiting

There are very few people that have the background that I have. I have an understanding with all facets of football recruiting and player personnel evaluation. I have worked at every level such as college, pro personnel, NFL, CFL, XFL player personnel. I have an understanding where your level of play lies and with my breadth of knowledge, we can help you with the best opportunity to earn a degree in school while playing football.

My typical customer

Any young man who wants to maximize scholarship opportunities and find the right fit school for them in North America.

Contact me

Mike Kelly
mkelly@ncsasports.org
872-243-2632

Visit my website: https://www.ncsasports.org/

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Jon Astrope says:

Never judge a man by how he falls. Judge him by how he gets back up and you’ll see what he’s made of.

Tom Cudney says:

Coach… great reference about your Dad! I can appreciate your devotion and enduring commitment to the game you love!

All the best and much continued success…!!!

Gary Rogers says:

Hey Coach Cudney, I’m sure you totally understand what it’s like as you too are a coach! Balance would be so hard, especially because the game of football demands lots of hours at work in preparation, practice, travel and games too.

Lori Strahley says:

Mike in reading your story is like reading Kevin’s narrative.You both were built to be the best.Not so much financially but be #1 in all that you do.Being 2nd wasn’t an option.I balanced Kevin in that way.He worked 200% and played hard to win.He told me when he played at Bluffton before a game he quoted Charlie Daniels Band”I told you once-you son of a —I’m the best there’s ever been “ Traveling is hard on family life but I grew up with my dad being gone for work,I knew what I was in for.During quarantine I kept beating him at on online Golf game so he said it was a stupid game & would not play! Nothing can stop the drive of a person that has to be #1 You do the best you can, Lori