After thirty-three years as head coach of the Kings Firecrackers, Lynn Kelley is retiring. What started as an afterschool activity for kids in South Lebanon, Kelley has grown the team into a national favorite halftime show.
She is handing the jump rope over to longtime Team choreographer, Shaun Hamilton. Pending Board approval, Shaun will begin Firecracker tryouts and practices this summer. Kelley said, “Shaun has been helping the team since he was 16 years old and it is very exciting to have him become an official Firecracker!”
Hamilton is the president of the International Jump Rope Union. He began his jump rope/rope skipping career as a young athlete in 1989. He claimed US national titles in 1999 and 2003 and a FISAC-IRSF World Championship title in 1999. Shaun has served as a coach for a local club, a US board member, a committee chair, and Team USA Head Coach. In 2009 Mr. Hamilton co-founded the World Jump Rope Federation and served as its Chair since 2010.
“I am excited to coach the Kings Firecrackers Jump Rope Performance Team and build on the wonderful legacy Lynn Kelley created over the past 30+ years,” he said. Since he has worked with the Firecrackers as a choreographer for over 20 years he fundamentally understands what makes them special. He has been a part of the sport for more than 30 years, coaching a competitive team in Texas, as well as serving as Head Coach for the US National Jump Rope team and the U.S. All-Star Team. “Coaching is in my blood and I cannot wait to work with these amazing athletes in an effort to continue the Firecracker tradition of excellence,” he said.
Upon her retirement, Coach Kelley said, “I have thoroughly enjoyed the girls and getting to know their families. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined all that the girls accomplished and the fun we had along the way!” Kelley will still be involved with the team but in a much lesser role. “These past years have meant the world to me; I thank you for giving me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I have been surely blessed beyond measure!”
Coach Hamilton will host a Meet & Greet and Information gathering session for prospective new Firecrackers this evening at South Lebanon Elementary from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.