Assistant coach James Kelly departs Bombers to be stay-at-home dad

Essendon assistant coach James Kelly has resigned after three years as a coach to look after his two young sons on a full-time basis.

The 37-year-old, who has commuted from Geelong to Tullamarine for work, has been in discussions with the Bombers in the past few months about how to manage the full-time demands of his role and his desire to spend time with his family. He has since decided the time was right to leave.

James Kelly is leaving his role with Essendon.Credit:Darrian Traynor

Essendon is supportive of Kelly’s decision with the popular Bombers assistant joining a line of people departing the AFL in the past 12 months.

Kelly, who played with the Bombers in 2016 and 2017 after an illustrious career with Geelong where he played in three flags, was in the club’s hub on the Gold Coast last season.

He has been assistant coach of stoppages at the Bombers under new coach Ben Rutten, who succeeded John Worsfold at the end of the year.

The club will cover the role by spreading responsibilities across the football department with Rutten, Blake Caracella, Daniel Giansiracusa, Dan Jordan, Leigh Tudor and Cam Roberts coaching in 2021.

Geelong and Essendon are due to meet in a pre-season match on March 6 ahead of the season proper start in late March.

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