The Michigan State men’s basketball program has finally found its third and final full-time assistant coach. Head coach Tom Izzo has opted to add Thomas Kelley to his bench, the Spartans announced on Friday.
“It’s always been a thrill for me when I can bring a former player back to Michigan State and that’s definitely the case with Thomas coming back as an assistant on my staff,” Izzo said in a statement. “I’ve known Thomas for nearly 30 years, from recruiting him, coaching him and then having him on my staff when he started his career.
“He was a player on my first Final Four team here and when he came back as a graduate assistant in 2015, you could tell from the jump that he was going to be a great coach, from his work on film, his work on the floor with the team and his ability to communicate with the players. I always thought he’d be a terrific coach and he was able to grow and learn more during his time at Western Michigan. It’s great to have him back with his Spartan family.”
Kelley most recently served as an assistant coach for Western Michigan. He spent the past four seasons in Kalamazoo, Michigan under head coaches Steve Hawkins and Clayton Bates. When Dwayne Stephens left Michigan State to take over as head coach at WMU, he had planned to keep Kelley on staff for the Broncos, but Kelley will now instead work under Izzo at Michigan State.
Kelley is also a familiar name in East Lansing. He played for Michigan State from 1995 through 1999 and was a member of Izzo’s first Final Four team as a fifth-year senior during the 1998-1999 season. As a Spartan, Kelley played in 115 career games, averaging 5.3 points, 2.0 assists and 0.6 steals per game.
In addition to playing for Michigan State, Kelley has also previously worked under Izzo. He was on the Spartans’ staff as a graduate manager for two seasons during the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 seasons before heading to Western Michigan in September of 2018.
"TK is one of those guys that is loved by everyone at Michigan State...he's an incredibly hardworking guy." pic.twitter.com/8cwbccnQ8N— Michigan State Men's Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) June 3, 2022
During Kelley’s time in Kalamazoo, six Broncos earned All-MAC (Mid-American Conference) recognition, and 13 Broncos earned Academic All-MAC selections.
Kelley joins Doug Wojcik and Mark Montgomery as Izzo’s three full-time assistant coaches. The staff also includes Mike Garland (special assistant to the head coach), Matt McQuaid (assistant director of basketball operations), Austin Thornton (video coordinator) and others.
A Grand Rapids, Michigan native, Kelley went on to play 15 seasons of professional basketball overseas in Amsterdam, Israel, Turkey, Austria, Hungary and Finland.