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Jason Kelly returns to Washington as head baseball coach

Jun 17, 2022

SEATTLE – Jason Kelly, who previously spent seven seasons as the highly successful pitching coach at the University of Washington, returns to Montlake as the Huskies' new head baseball coach, UW Director of Athletics Jennifer Cohen announced today.
 
"I couldn't be more excited to welcome Jason Kelly and his family back to Montlake as our next head baseball coach," said Cohen. "JK was an integral part of the success our teams experienced on our historic run to Omaha in 2018. He is an elite recruiter with strong ties to the West Coast and Pacific Northwest, and has significant experience in the Pac-12 and SEC that will be an incredible asset. He has a great deal of pride for this University and the Seattle community, and is hungry to have the Huskies competing again at the highest level. He will embrace the history we have, as well as our amazing alumni, and I can't wait to have him get started."
 
Kelly spent the 2013 through 2019 seasons as the Huskies' pitching coach under Lindsay Meggs, who announced his retirement following the 2022 season.
 
"My family and I could not be more excited to be heading back to Seattle," said Kelly. "The University of Washington has always been home to us. I would like to give a special thank you to President [Ana Mari] Cauce, Jen Cohen and Kim Durand for entrusting me with this incredible opportunity. I am proud to be a Husky, and can't wait to get to work. Go Dawgs!"
 
He returns to Seattle after having spent the 2022 season as pitching coach at LSU. Before that, he held the same position at Arizona State for two seasons.
 
In his next-to-last year at Washington, in 2018, he earned D1Baseball.com's National Assistant Coach of the Year, when he helped guide the Huskies to their first-ever trip to the College World Series.
 
In 2022, he helped lead the LSU Tigers to a 40-22 overall record, a 17-13 record in Southeastern Conference play, and their 34th trip to the NCAA Tournament. His pitching staff struck out 610 batters and walked only 220 in 554 innings, while holding opponents to a .240 batting average.
 
In 2021, Kelly's final season at Arizona State, he guided a pitching staff that led the Sun Devils to an NCAA Tournament berth, despite injuries to all three of the team's weekend starters and its closer.
 
In the pandemic-shorted 2020 season, his first at ASU, he helped lead the Devils to a 3.56 team ERA, a precipitous drop from a 4.93 mark the previous year, before his arrival in Tempe.
 
In his seven seasons as Washington's pitching coach, Kelly mentored 15 MLB draft selections, and, after making just one NCAA Tournament appearance in the 13 seasons prior to Kelly's arrival, the Huskies earned three NCAA berths during his seven seasons.
 
D1Baseball.com named Kelly the 2018 National Assistant Coach of the Year for his integral role in Washington's drive to its first-ever CWS appearance.
 
In 2017, Kelly helped the Huskies sign a top-10 recruiting class, and in 2016, he developed and mentored Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year and first-team All-American Troy Rallings.
 
In 2014, the Huskies achieved their highest national ranking in team history, reaching No. 5 in Baseball America, Perfect Game and Collegiate Baseball, with the pitching staff played a huge role in UW's success. The team ERA of 3.11 ranked third in the Pac-12 and was the lowest by the Huskies since 1985.
 
Before coming to Seattle, Kelly was the pitching coach at Cal Poly from 2007-12. In his first season in San Luis Obispo, he produced two pitchers who were selected in the top-five rounds of the draft, while his 2011 staff recorded the lowest ERA in the school's 17-year existence at the Division I level.
 
Kelly began his four-year college coaching career under Meggs at Chico State, where as the pitching coach he helped lead the Wildcats to back-to-back Division II College World Series berths. His 2005 Chico State staff compiled the sixth-best ERA in the nation.
 
Prior to coaching at Chico State, Kelly spent one season (2004) in baseball operations at Cal Poly and one season (2003) coaching at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, Calif. He also coached summer college teams from 2002-04, helping both the San Luis Obispo Blues and the Anchorage Bucs to the National Baseball Congress World Series.
 
Kelly was a pitcher at Cal Poly in 1999, and after redshirting in 2000, he went on to pitch at Cuesta College in 2001 and at Missouri Valley College in 2002. He is a 1998 graduate of St. Joseph High School in Santa Maria, Calif.
 
He will be joined in Seattle by his wife Tracy, daughter Peyton (14) and son Cade (12).
 
Kelly's appointment is pending approval of the university's standard background check.
 
Kelly will be introduced at a press conference at a later date. More information will be shared when details are finalized.