Former Michigan State men’s basketball standout and graduate assistant Thomas Kelley has rejoined the Spartans program as an assistant coach, Head Coach Tom Izzo announced.
Kelley rejoins the MSU program after spending the last four seasons as an assistant coach at Western Michigan.
“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. “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.”
During his time at Western Michigan, six Broncos earned Mid-American Conference (MAC) recognition and 13 earned Academic All-MAC recognition.
Kelley started his coaching career at Michigan State in 2015-16, joining Izzo’s staff as a graduate manager alongside former Spartan Austin Thornton, who is now the video coordinator for the program. During his three seasons at MSU, Kelley was responsible for breaking down film, assisting with scouting and player development. The Spartans won two Big Ten Championships and reached three NCAA Tournaments during that time.
Kelley played at Michigan State from 1994-99, earning his bachelor’s degree in communications. He began his playing career under legendary head coach Jud Heathcote. As a fifth-year senior in 1998-99, he was part of Izzo’s first Final Four team, helping to lead the Spartans to a 33-5 overall record, the No. 2 national ranking by the Associated Press and a Big Ten Championship. During his playing days, the Spartans appeared in three NCAA Tournaments and two National Invitation Tournaments (NIT).
After his collegiate career, Kelley played 15 seasons overseas in Holland, Israel, Turkey, Austria, Hungary and Finland.
A native of Grand, Rapids, Mich., Kelley played prep ball at Grand Rapids Union High School.