Kelton, who becomes the eighth ethnic-minority and seventh African-American head football coach in Division III, succeeds Mike Whalen, who left Williams to return to coach his alma mater, Wesleyan (Connecticut).
Kelton has been Columbia’s defensive coordinator for the last two seasons after having served the two previous seasons as secondary coach.
“The search committee was impressed with Aaron’s energy and passion for teaching the game to young men, and this passion resonated with people on our campus throughout the process,” said Williams AD Harry Sheehy. “He’ll be a tireless teacher, coach and recruiter. Current and future Eph football players will be inspired and challenged to reach for their potential under Aaron’s tutelage. It’s with much enthusiasm that we call on him to carry forward the great tradition that is Williams football.”
That tradition was a key attraction for Kelton.
“We’ll work hard and do what needs to be done,” he said. “The goal every year will be to go 8-0.”
Kelton graduated from Springfield College in 1992 with a B.S. in psychology and lettered all four years for the Pride in football, starting two years at quarterback.
Kelton received NFL summer internships that enabled him to serve on the staffs at Indianapolis in 2007, Jacksonville in 2008, and Arizona in 2009.
Kelton is currently working on completing a master’s degree in integrated studies from Virginia State.
What they are saying about Aaron Kelton:
Norries Wilson, head football coach at Columbia University
“I’m ecstatic that Williams College has selected Aaron. It will be a great loss for us but a phenomenal opportunity for him. He will bring a high level of excitement with him, a great intensity and drive to win. With all of that, he will make it fun for the kids. Aaron helped us to gain a measure of respectability for our program, and I’m sure he’ll continue in the long line of Springfield College grads and become a great head coach at Williams.”
Mike Delong, 27-year head football coach at Springfield College
“Aaron Kelton is an outstanding young man, who did not talk much about coaching when he was here. Most of our kids who go into coaching go through here as GAs [graduate assistants], but Aaron went back to Wellesley High School to start his coaching career. He took a non-traditional route into coaching and he has just worked and worked his way up the ladder to be a coordinator in the Ivy League and now the head coach at Williams. Hard work and an impressive personal character have characterized Aaron’s career. He’s an outstanding person, and I’m sure he’ll be an outstanding head coach. I can still see him running a naked bootleg for a TD against Norwich in the rain. He was a great athlete for us and we’re extremely proud that he’s going to be the next head coach at Williams.”