UNC Lacrosse: The Kelly Family Roots


When Joe Breschi helped the University of North Carolina win their last national championship in 1991 he had a little bit of help from the Kelly family. Brothers David and Bryan Kelly both won national championships in 1986 and 1991, but since then UNC has struggled to make it to championship weekend.

25 years later there’s a new Kelly squad on UNC’s roster. Senior Patrick Kelly, his cousin junior Stephen Kelly, and younger brother freshman Timmy Kelly, are all consistent contributors for the powerhouse offense of North Carolina. Each Kelly graduated from Calvert Hall College High School in Baltimore, where Bryan Kelly is the head coach. While Stephen is dominating at the faceoff X, he gives his cousins Patrick and Timmy a chance is show their skills on the settled offense side of the ball. Also in 2018, Bryan Kelly’s son Jacob will be next in line to continue the UNC lacrosse Kelly tradition.

After an 8-6 end to the regular season, North Carolina was considered to be ‘on the bubble’ when it came to Selection Sunday for the NCAA tournament. Plus North Carolina had not made it to the Final Four since 1993. But the Tar Heels defied all odds by defeating Notre Dame in the quarterfinals behind Stephen Kelly’s stellar face-off performance (17-25), and went onto the Final Four. Memorial Day Weekend, for the first time since their Uncle and high school coach in 1991; Patrick, Stephen, and Timmy Kelly brought home a National Championship trophy for UNC.

Patrick ended the 2016 season with 27 goals and 11 assists for 28 points. His little brother Timmy was the highest scoring freshman on the roster with 10 goals and 8 assists for 18 points and their cousin Stephen finished with 3 goals and 6 assists for 9 points along with a .574 face-off win percentage.

Certainly this season is one to remember for not only the University of North Carolina, but also the Kelly Family. One can only imagine what it’s like to be at one of their family reunions. That’s a lot of championship rings and Carolina blue for one room.


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