Saraland’s Jeff Kelly Named Alabama Head Coach for the 2024 Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Classic

Montgomery, AL – Saraland High School head football coach Jeff Kelly has been tapped to lead the Alabama All-Star squad in the 38th annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Classic. Set to occur at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, on the University of South Alabama’s campus, the annual contest showcases top prep talent in the two bordering states.

Last year, Alabama clinched a 26-17 victory under the guidance of Enterprise head coach Ben Blackmon, increasing their series lead to an impressive 26 wins against 11 losses.

The Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) Director, Brandon Dean, announced the coaching selection, affirming Kelly’s reputation as one of the AHSAA’s most esteemed coaches.

“Coach Kelly has proven to be one of the AHSAA’s finest head coaches,” said Dean. “And he has put together an outstanding all-star coaching staff as well that includes four coaches that won state titles last season, two coaches who played in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game and one coach who has 351 career coaching wins to his credit.”

The Alabama coaching staff for the All-Star Classic includes legendary Fyffe head coach Paul Benefield with his invaluable experience, standing as the defensive line coach, alongside McGill-Toolen’s David Faulkner, poised to act as the offensive coordinator. Montgomery Catholic’s Kirk Johnson is taking charge as the defensive coordinator, paired with Jason Massey, Leroy’s head coach, who will oversee linebacking duties. With Drew Gilmer helming the role of the defensive back coach, Jamie Mitchell of Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa offering his offensive line coaching expertise, and Eufaula’s Jerrel Jernigan strengthening the team as the wide receivers coach. . Further support comes in the form of Matt Dearmon of Saraland, who will be the scouting coach for Alabama All-Stars.

“I played in the Alabama-Mississippi Game as a player, I coached last year as an assistant coach, and it is a very huge honor to be the head coach in this game,” said Kelly. “I am excited about our staff. We have some really outstanding coaches. Last year I came straight to this game after the Super 7 finals. You have to be able to shift gears, but it doesn’t take you long when you see how important this game is to the players and coaches in this state. I am looking forward to the game already.”

Jeff Kelly’s place in the history of the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic is unique. Having competed as a player, assistant coach, and now as head coach, Kelly’s diversity of experience within the yearly competition is unparalleled, signified by his existing 2-0 record in the series.

Reflecting on the nomination, Kelly underscored the significance of the role, expressing his eagerness to collaborate with the coaching staff and articulating the profound importance the game holds for players and coaches across the state.

Kelly lead the Saraland Spartans a 14-1 finish in 2023, falling to the Clay-Chalkville Cougars 31-28 in the Class 6A state title game.  The Citronelle native currently holds a 179-70 career record including five Super 7 appearances, four region titles, 18 postseason berths and a state championship over 21 seasons as a head coach. 

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