John Snowden Kellison (November 3, 1886 – May 7, 1971) was a professional football player in the National Football League with the Canton Bulldogs and the Toledo Maroons. He also was an athletic director at Marietta College as well as Washington & Jefferson College. He later became the head coach for William and Mary's football and basketball teams. In the 1940s he was an assistant coach, under Greasy Neale, for the Philadelphia Eagles.

John Kellison
John Kellison.jpg
Photo taken while serving as the athletic director at Marietta College
Biographical details
BornNovember 3, 1886
Buckeye, West Virginia
DiedMay 7, 1971(1971-05-07) (aged 84)
Marlinton, West Virginia
Playing career
?West Virginia Wesleyan
1915–1921Canton Bulldogs
1922Toledo Maroons
Position(s)Center, tackle
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1921–1922Washington & Jefferson (assistant)
1923–1928Virginia (assistant)
1929–1930William & Mary (line)
1931–1934William & Mary
1939Richmond (assistant)
1941–1950Philadelphia Eagles (assistant)
1952Washington and Lee (assistant)
1929–1934William & Mary
1937–1939William & Mary
1931–1934William & Mary
1938William & Mary
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1921–?Washington & Jefferson
Head coaching record
Overall21–17–2 (football)
70–33 (basketball)
63–25 (baseball)
Accomplishments and honors
2 Virginia Conference (1933–1934)

Playing careerEdit

John joined the Bulldogs in 1915 along with Greasy Neale, whom Kellison served under as an assistant coach at West Virginia Wesleyan.[1] When Neale and Kellison first played with Bulldogs, they assumed aliases for fear they’d be fired from their coaching jobs if it came out they were involved with pro football - at the time, most college presidents looked down upon the professional game. So for their first few years with the Bulldogs, Kellison took the name "Keller", while Neale took the name "Foster". When a delegation from West Virginia Wesleyan made surprise visit to a Bulldogs game in 1916 to investigate allegations of college football personnel playing professionally, Neale, Kellison and Pete Calac all got wind of the news and briefly left the team.[2]

During his time in Canton Kellison and the Bulldogs won three Ohio League championships, in 1916, 1917 and 1919.

Coaching and administrative careerEdit

After his playing days, Kellison became the athletic director at Marietta College. He resigned from the position at Marietta to become the athletic director at Washington & Jefferson College in 1921.[3] He later became the head coach for the William & Mary Tribe men's basketball team from 1929 to 1934, and then again from 1937 to 1939.[4] During his first stint as coach, William & Mary had not yet joined any athletic conference, thus his overall record was 59–30. In 1936 the Tribe became a member school of the Southern Conference, so Kellison's second tenure saw him lead W&M to a 4–17 conference record (11–22 overall). For his cumulative coaching career record, Kellison finished at 4–17 in conference and 70–33 overall. His 67.9% winning percentage is second all-time to Bernard E. Wilson for William & Mary coaches with at least 100 games coached.[4]

Kellison was also the head coach for the William & Mary football team from 1931 to 1934, compiling a 21–17–2 record.[5] In 1942 John was made an assistant coach, by Neale, for the Philadelphia Eagles.[6] He was fired along with Neale after the 1950 season.[7] Kellison became an assistant football coach for Washington & Lee in 1952.[7]

Head coaching recordEdit


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
William & Mary Indians (Independent) (1931–1934)
1931 William & Mary 5–2–2
William & Mary Indians (Virginia Conference) (1932–1934)
1932 William & Mary 8–4 4–1
1933 William & Mary 6–5 2–1 T–1st
1934 William & Mary 2–6 2–1 T–1st
William & Mary: 21–17–2 8–3
Total: 21–17–2
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth


  1. ^ Pigskin: The Early Years of Pro Football, page 55. Accessed May 18, 2009.
  2. ^ The Name Game Archived August 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine The Sporting News. November 1, 1999.
  3. ^ Athletic Director Appointed New York Times. March 15, 1921.
  4. ^ a b William & Mary men's basketball history – Media Guide 2007–2008 Archived May 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed March 24, 2008.
  5. ^ William & Mary football history – Media Guide 2007 Archived July 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, page 22. Accessed March 26, 2008.
  6. ^ “This Young Kid from Down South”: Bert Milling Archived November 26, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, page 18. Accessed May 18, 2009.
  7. ^ a b "Bill McCann Named W&L Basketball Coach, John Kellison to Serve as Grid Assistant". The Free Lance-Star. April 26, 1952. Retrieved August 24, 2012.

External linksEdit