Staff Profile: Coach Josh O’Kelly

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New to the KMHS staff this year is history teacher and wrestling coach, Mr. Josh O’Kelly. Mr. O’Kelley grew up in Acworth, Georgia– right down the road from Kennesaw Mountain High School. O’Kelley graduated from North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia in 2012, before heading to Reinhardt University to play football on a scholarship. Coach O’Kelley transferred to Kennesaw State University after a year to focus on his degree and more recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science in History Education in 2018. Coach O’Kelley is entering his first year as a Head Coach at KMHS.

How was your experience in college ?

I actually went to two. The first one I went to was Reinhardt University. It’s up in Waleska, GA and it was a pretty good experience … I was there on a football scholarship and so it was an interesting time … There was a lot of learning how to balance my time between basically what was the job of football and then doing my class work and managing just being able to get myself to and from class all the time. Then where I was at Kennesaw State it was a little bit different … [I had to learn] how to just manage myself a little bit better and also being able to teach students while I do it … the whole 8-4 as a teacher being responsible for content and grading and all that sort of deal.

What appealed to you about teaching Social Studies? And, what also appealed to you about coaching wrestling?

Social Studies is something I’ve always had a passion for. I remember my 10th grade teacher, Mr. Stapler. He was this old school guy. He had the beard, loved doing the Renaissance Fair stuff and I kind of liked history… When I got into his classroom, he inspired me and motivated me to go and teach.

When you love what you do, it’s not really a job anymore. Getting into wrestling is kind of the same way. I found my passion for it.  I’ve been coaching football for five years … There is a lot of carryover in the kids. You get a lot of great athletes … so being able to continue to coach wrestling it’s a passion so it’s not really a job for me. It’s something I love to do.

Why did you choose to work at KMHS and what do you like about working here?

I’ve known about the school for a while. When I was in high school up at North Paulding, we used to play Kennesaw Mountain. I knew some of the coaches that were here and I knew about it as an academic school that prided itself on its ability to perform. I’m familiar with Kennesaw and close to home. For my wife and me, we don’t have to move too far to be able to be around our family and still enjoy what we do as a job.

Do you feel like your filling pretty big shoes by taking over Coach Morrison’s position and class?

No, I don’t really think its big shoes to fill. He did an excellent job while he was here and he’s going to do some good things at Shorter [University]. Coaches brings their own flavor. They bring their own culture, their own atmosphere. It makes the team unique while that coach is there. So the legacy that he left here, it’s something that, for me, I’m able to sort of take and make as a goal. Being competitive by nature, I’m looking at it as something that I’m gonna beat. And so, we set our goals and we know what we want to hit and how we’re going to get there so it’s just a matter of time.