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G.V. hires Dan Kelley as football coach

Posted: January 6, 2014 4:11 p.m.
Updated: January 6, 2014 4:11 p.m.

Golden Valley High School officially announced the hiring of Dan Kelley as its new varsity head football coach on Monday.

Kelley comes to the school after spending the last three years as the head coach at Arleta High, which finished 9-2 this past season and went 26-7 overall under Kelley’s guidance.

“Golden Valley I believe has the talent and the facilities to build a great football program and I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Kelley said. “I know the Foothill League is one of the strongest leagues in the area, if not Southern California.”

Kelley, 39, has been coaching high school football since 1994 when he took an assistant coaching job at Sylmar High, his alma mater.

At that point, Kelley was working under his old high school head coach Jeff Engilman, who won five CIF Los Angeles City Section championships at three difference schools.

Engilman is now retired as a teacher and head coach, but will be joining Kelley on Golden Valley’s coaching staff.

“He’s been my mentor and to have somebody like that on your staff is huge,” said Kelley, who coached under Engilman for 10 years at Sylmar and another five years at Arleta.

Before taking over the Arleta program in 2011, Kelley was the offensive coordinator for an Arleta team that won an L.A. City Section Division II title in 2008.

Kelley’s first contact with football in the Santa Clarita Valley came in 2005, when he was an assistant coach for the West Ranch freshman squad that went 10-0.

The following year, Kelley returned to the varsity ranks at Arleta High, which was a brand new school in 2006.

He helped build the program from the bottom up, and he’s hoping to use a similar system to revive a Golden Valley team that has struggled since it began in 2005.

“We’re going to bring our system to Golden Valley,” Kelley said. “We’re going to bring our offseason philosophy, and we’re looking to turn the page and not look back but look forward.”

Golden Valley is 13-77 in nine seasons of varsity football and 0-39 all-time against Foothill League opponents.

The team finished 2-8 this past season.

Kelley is the fifth head coach of the program as he succeeds Robert Fisher, who stepped down in November after three years at the helm.

Fisher remains Golden Valley’s athletic director.

“Dan Kelley’s the right guy to move this program forward. ... This is huge. It’s very exciting for the kids and the program,” Fisher said.

Despite his success with Arleta and a promising future to the program, Kelley said he applied for the Golden Valley job partly because it gave him the chance at a full-time teaching job.

Kelley had been working as a day-to-day substitute since 2011 when he was laid off from his teaching position at Arleta.

He’ll be teaching physical education at Golden Valley. Kelley graduated from Cal State Northridge and acquired his teaching credential in 2007.

“(Golden Valley) offered a contract teaching position and also a head football coaching position, and in the teaching business it’s about job security and who wouldn’t pass up coming into Golden Valley?” Kelley said.

Given the pass-happy offensive trend with SCV football teams, Kelley said he plans to incorporate a shotgun, spread-style system similar to what he ran at Arleta.

As a former offensive coordinator, Kelley will call his own plays on that side of the ball.

The details will come in time though, he said. First and foremost, it’s about getting to know the players and diving into offseason conditioning.

“My big focus is we’re not going to look back. We’re going to look forward and we’re going to stay positive and like I said, I’m here to open a new chapter in Golden Valley football,” Kelley said. “The key is to get kids to buy into our system and move forward. We don’t want to sit down and talk about what happened last season.”


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