Notebook: Bayhawks owner Kelly wins Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award

The Chesapeake Bayhawks announced Thursday that owner Brendan Kelly is a winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Regional Award. The honor recognizes high-growth entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

The Bayhawks have won two Major League Lacrosse championships in the three years Kelly has owned the team, and the franchise has experienced more than 30 percent growth each year since 2010 in ticket sales and sponsorship, according to a team press release.


Kelly is also is the owner and CEO of Smartlink, a national industry leader providing staffing and site development services within the telecommunications, real estate, construction, engineering and IT industries and Driven LLC, a members-only corporate transportation company.

The Ernst & Young awards gala event took place Wednesday at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront.


"Brendan is so deserving of this award," Bayhawks coach Dave Cottle said. "His vision and execution in leadership of all his companies is exceptional and that is evident in his success over all facets."

Brendan and the other regional award winners will now go on to compete at the national level. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the National Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Overall Award winner, will be announced at the annual awards gala in Palm Springs, Calif., on Nov. 16. The national winner will go on to the World Entrepreneur of the Year awards in Monaco.

"It is a very humbling experience to be nominated among so many great entrepreneurs from the region," Kelly said. "This award is a testimony of all of the great business owners in the country and represents the hard work and perseverance of my team. Without them, I would not be where I am today."

St. Paul's grad Thomas leaving Roanoke post

Roanoke announced the departure of assistant coach Zach Thomas (St. Paul's) after four seasons, including the past three as head assistant.

The winningest player in Maroons program history with 62 career victories, Thomas was a two-time All-America attackman at Roanoke. The only captain of the team as a senior, he finished his career ranked among the all-time greats at Roanoke in scoring (fourth), goals (fifth), assists (tied for sixth), shots (second) and shots on goal (second).

Thomas finished his senior year in 2009 with 34 goals and a team-high 25 assists for 59 points. Thomas was a three-time All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference selection and was named the 2009 Roanoke College Male Athlete of the Year.