Michael Kelleher
Michael Kelleher
Title: Defensive Coordinator - Defensive Backs
Phone: 401/863-3840
Email: Michael_Kelleher@brown.edu
Position: Defensive Coordinator - Linebackers
Recruiting Area: Northern CA, Eastern FL, NV, UT

Michael Kelleher, known as one of the outstanding defensive strategists in the east, is set to begin his 17th season as the Defensive Coordinator for the Bears.  His defensive units have helped the Bears capture two Ivy League Championships (2005, 2008). In 2003, Kelleher was honored as the New England Assistant Coach of the Year.

Year in and year out, Kelleher's defensive unit is among the best in the Ivy League. Brown had the #1 scoring defense in the Ivy League in 2012 and the #1 overall defense (yards allowed) and #2 scoring defense in 2011.

Kelleher’s 2008 Ivy League Championship defense featured six All-Ivy selections.  His defensive unit was the Ivy League’s stingiest against the run, allowing a league best 77.1 yards per game on the ground, fourth best in the nation. Brown’s defense also allowed the fewest rushing touchdowns (3) in the nation.

Kelleher’s defense helped Brown to the Ivy League Championship in 2005, coaching five All-Ivy players, including three-time All-American and two-time Buck Buchanan Award Finalist Zak DeOssie, who was drafted by the New York Giants on the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft, and played a key role in the success of the New York Giants’ Super Bowl Champion team. DeOssie is now a two-time All-Pro selection for the Giants.

A native New Englander, who grew up in West Springfield, Mass., Kelleher helped Brown’s 2003 team to wins in four of its last five games. His 2003 defense ranked second in the Ivy, yielding 369.2 yards per game. In 2001, Kelleher implemented a new defensive system that allowed 26.1 points per game, down from 30.1 the previous year.  

Brown also led the Ivy League in pass defense in 2001, allowing only 191.1 passing yards per game.   Last year’s team ranked third in the Ivy League in pass defense and fourth in scoring defense, allowing 22.9 points per game.

Kelleher’s defense ranked second in the Ivy League in 2004, yielding 316.4 yards per game, in helping Brown to a 6-4 overall record and fourth place finish in the Ivy standings.  His defensive unit allowed just 19.4 points per game and led the Ivy League in sacks (32).

Kelleher came to Brown after a four-year tenure at Columbia University. With the Lions, Kelleher served as linebackers coach and special teams coordinator.

Kelleher, a 1981 graduate of Boston University with a Bachelor of Science degree in rehabilitation counseling, was a four-year starter for the Terriers and a member of the 1980 Yankee Conference championship team. He was twice named First Team All-Conference and was the 1980 Defensive Player of the Year.

Following his playing career, Kelleher coached at Boston University for nine years, working as secondary coach and linebacker coach, as well as serving as recruiting coordinator for three years. From there, he became the defensive coordinator at the University of Rhode Island, where his 1990 defense was ranked seventh nationally in scoring defense.

Kelleher then worked in a similar capacity at Colgate, where his defense finished second in the Patriot League in scoring defense in 1993 and 1994 before a brief stint at Maine and his tenure at Columbia.

Kelleher currently resides in Boston, MA, with his wife, Betsy.

All-Ivy Players Coached by Kelleher (Linebackers)

  • 2001 Joel Barone (Second Team LB); Jeremiah Watts (Honorable Mention LB)
  • 2002 Jeremiah Watts (Honorable Mention LB)
  • 2003  Andrew Gallagher (Second Team LB)
  • 2004  Zak DeOssie (First Team LB)
  • 2005  Zak DeOssie (First Team LB)
  • 2006  Zak DeOssie (First Team LB)
  • 2008  Steve Ziogas (Second Team LB), Miles Craigwell (Second Team LB)
  • 2009  Kelley Cox (First Team LB)
  • 2010  Chimso Okoji (Honorable Mention LB)
  • 2011  Brett Wyman (First Team LB), Matt O'Donnell (Honorable Mention LB)
  • 2012  Stephen Zambetti (First Team LB)
  • 2013  Daniel Giovacchini (Honorable Mention ILB)
  • 2014  Xavier Russo (First Team LB) , Daniel Giovacchini (Honorable Mention LB)
  • 2015  William Twyman (Second Team LB)
  • 2016  William Twyman (First Team LB), Max Tylki (Honorable Mention LB)