Inside the PD: Former SW Va. assistant named Dukes' football coach

Brandon Kelley, a former assistant in Southwestern Virginia whose most recent stop was Lord Botetourt, has been hired as Gloucester’s head football coach.

Kelley is replacing Sonny Merchant, who resigned six games into his fifth season. He will be Gloucester’s eighth coach in 21 years.

Kelley coached running backs and outside linebackers at Lord Botetourt High last season. He previously had coached defensive ends at William Byrd and was the junior varsity coach at Patrick Henry.

Kelley played high school football at Bland County High. He also was a starting linebacker at Bridgewater College, where his final season was 2006.

“One of the things that intrigued us is that he had the opportunity to work with three coaches,” Gloucester principal Layton Beverage said. “He was able garner a  great deal of wisdom and  learn from their successes  and mistakes.

“He’s the right fit for Gloucester. His youth and enthusiasm make him the ideal choice for this position.”

Lord Botetourt coach Jamie Harless said Kelley was with him for one season.

“He’s a young, inexperienced guy,” Harless said. “He’s progressing like the rest  of us, and I’m sure that’ll be a great challenge with the job he’s taking. He’ll find out a whole lot more about himself.”

Merchant's 46-game tenure is the longest by a Gloucester football coach since Turnley Todd from 1976-92.  Gloucester hasn't had a winning season since 1987, when it was a member of the Group AA York River District.

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