Mike Kelly


Coach Michael Kelly was raised in Claremont, California, a small suburb east of Los Angeles. He played soccer, baseball, football, and basketball growing up, and almost didn’t try out for his high school team. It was only at the encouragement of his father that he ended up trying out his freshman year of high school. Mike played for Coach Mike Seaman, who had helped develop his love for the game. Herb Livsey, director and founder of Snow Valley Basketball School was the

other coach that influenced his love for the game, and more specifically coaching. Mike loved attending the Snow Valley Basketball School each summer during and especially enjoyed the skill development that was taught by all sorts of big-name coaches with well-known last names like Newell, Van Gundy, Ramsey, Musselman, and Grgurich.

Mike had hoped to walk on to the basketball team at St. Mary’s College of California, but upon arriving to campus and working out with the team, he knew coaching, not playing, would be more in his future. However, he still had a desire to compete as a player and ended up playing four years of Rugby helping the Gaels finish in the top 10 nationally in each of his final three seasons. Even with this athletic success on the field, Mike always knew that coaching basketball and teaching at the high school level was where his passion resided. He finished his degree and post graduate work and took a job coaching JV basketball at his high school alma mater, Damien High School. The following year he applied to and was hired by Liberty High School in the Issaquah School District to run the basketball program. During his early years as a head coach, he returned to Snow Valley Basketball School as a coach continuing to foster his love and knowledge of the game by collaborating with those same coaches who taught him as a player. He credits his time spent there each summer with helping to develop him as a coach and teacher.

After two years at Liberty, Mike moved on to become the head coach at Redmond High School. While at Redmond, Mike led the Mustangs to a KingCo championship in 1999 and was named KingCo Coach of the Year in 2004. The Mustangs reached the WIAA State tournament twice in Mike’s six years at Redmond. After serving as a teacher and coach at Redmond, Mike was encouraged by friends to apply for the open head coach position at Seattle Prep. Seventeen years later, Mike’s legacy at Seattle Prep was cemented with an unprecedented run in their school history.

In his 17 seasons at the helm at Prep, Mike’s teams reached the postseason every year and advanced to the WIAA State tournament a remarkable 12 times, including a State Championship in 2006. Mike’s teams, both at Redmond and Seattle Prep, were led by a hard-nosed, tough man to man defense and an offense where roles were clearly defined and sharing the basketball was the emphasis. This formula led an array of hardware filling the Prep trophy case. In addition to the championship year, the Panthers earned a second-place finish in 2012, a third-place finish in 2022, a fourth-place finish in 2009, a fifth-place finish in 2015 and two sixth-place finishes under Mike’s leadership. In addition to the success at State, Mike Kelly led Prep to its only two Sea-King District 2 championships (2006, 2012) and the school’s only two Metro championships (2004, 2021).

Yet even with all his success on the court, Mike Kelly’s impact is most importantly defined by the relationships off the court and his influence developing young people into the best version of themselves. As DJ Fenner, Prep 2013 alum, states: ” The lessons I’ve learned from Coach Kelly go far beyond the basketball court. From motivating me to speak up and use my voice, to constantly instilling in me the values of loyalty and patience, Coach Kelly has and continues to inspire his players to grow and mature into successful and strong men.” Fellow Prep alum Jon Humphrie, class of 2009, added: “The lessons we were being taught on the basketball court at Prep were meant to help guide us on our path through life.”

Basketball is just the conduit for Mike to impact young people’s lives. Yet all of this success and time spent in the gym would not have been possible without the support of Mike’s family, especially his wife Megan. It is through their support that Mike could pursue this dream of coaching for so many years. With that support system in place, Mike continues to add on to his 448 career wins now at Woodinville High School where the formula remains the same: sharing the basketball, hard-nosed defense and that it always remains “bigger than basketball”.