SOUTH SIOUX CITY – As shocking as it was when Kelly Flynn walked away from coaching after the 2011 season, the longtime South Sioux City girls mentor said then that he was taking a “timeout” from coaching.
Flynn guided the Cardinals to 11 Nebraska Class B state championships in 16 state appearances and racked up 508 wins in the process.
Although the 60-year-old Flynn has been away from coaching for seven years, it wasn't as if he didn't miss it. The desire to return to the bench turned stronger of late and on Wednesday Flynn was named head girls coach at Fremont High School.
“It happened pretty fast, but it is something that we've talked about, trying to get to the Omaha area, since all of our kids and grandkids ended up there,” Flynn said. “All six of our grandchildren are in Bennington and that's only about 22 minutes from Fremont.
“I've always really enjoyed this economic development job but any time anyone would ask about coaching I would always say I missed that. I never said I was going to look to get back into it but I always said that I missed working with student-athletes.”
Flynn has served as the Economic Development Director for the City of South Sioux City for the past five years. He was also athletic director at South Sioux City High School for 11 years.
He stayed on as activities director after he left coaching.
“I kind of wanted to see how much I missed coaching or if I did enjoy being the administrator just by itself,” Flynn said. “That last year I didn't know what I was going to do when I knew I was going to retire from the school. I still thought about coaching but didn't know if I wanted to coach in this area again or be something different than a Cardinal.
“The city economic development job opened up about the time I was trying to figure out what I as trying to do and that ended up being a really good fit for five years. I still got to stay close to the school and athletic programs.”
Flynn will replace Tony Weinandt at Fremont, who is retiring at the end of the school year.
“A lot of it was really kind of trying to wait for the right opportunity,” Flynn said. “I saw that one not only close, but we played a lot of district tournaments at Fremont over the years and I was always impressed with their facilities, administrators and staff, taking care of our coaches and team. I could tell they were a class act and always had respect for Fremont.
“I think in a way it's a little bit like a South Sioux where they have Omaha 20-some miles away and Lincoln about 50 miles, but yet their own identity there where everyone is cheering for the high school Tigers.”
Flynn plans to meet with the Fremont assistant coaches and players on Friday. The Tigers were a highly successful program several years ago when stars Jessica Shepard and Rylie Jensen transferred in from Bellevue and Lincoln schools, each earning Nebraska Gatorade Player of the Year honors.
Fremont finished with a 14-9 record this season.
A member of the Nebraska High School Hall of Fame, Flynn was selected as the national coach of the year in 2012 by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association.
Look for Flynn to implement the same style that produced a 508-128 record in 27 seasons at South Sioux City.
“It's working for South Sioux, I love their transitioning and playing real good defense,” Flynn said. “We probably won't change a whole lot.”
In addition to his coaching, Flynn will teach physical education at Fremont, specifically in the strength and conditioning program.