Former University of Oklahoma linebacker and OU College of Professional and Continuing Studies Organizational Leadership alumnus Caleb Kelly was recently hired in an off-the-field role by the OU football program.
Kelly, who also holds an MBA from OU, will work with the newly created S.O.U.L. (Serving Our Uncommon Legacy) Mission. Created under new Head Football Coach Brent Venables, the in-house program will hire former football players to mentor current players in their lives outside of athletics by focusing on life skills, professional and career development, and community engagement.
Kelly will lead the professional and career development side of the mission.
"If you handle your business in every aspect of life, whether it’s on the field, off the field, in the classroom, in relationships and just life in general interacting with other people, then obviously the football portion will come on its own.”
Kelly said the new initiative came at the suggestion of Thad Turnipseed, OU’s new executive director for football administration. Turnipseed was involved in similar programs at Clemson and Alabama.
“Our goal is to create the uncommon man by ensuring we keep ‘the main thing the main thing,’” said Kelly, who explained “the main thing” is prioritizing education and integrity above athletics.
“If you accomplish becoming a S.O.U.L. man, or an uncommon man, then you are great in every aspect of life,” Kelly said. “It’s basically developing the man, not the football player. If you handle your business in every aspect of life, whether it’s on the field, off the field, in the classroom, in relationships and just life in general interacting with other people, then obviously the football portion will come on its own.”
Kelly said he had no expectations of a future with OU after his football career ended last season due to an injury, but he is honored to be able to stay and work for the university.
“I find it a complete honor, because I’ve been recognized as somebody who influences people in a positive way, and now my job description says that I’m supposed to do that, as well,” he said. “It really aligns with my personal goals and beliefs, and I get to instill those goals and beliefs in the younger players to come.”
Also joining the S.O.U.L. Mission team are former OU linebacker Curtis Lofton and former tight end Josh Norman.
To learn about the College of Professional and Continuing Studies and its online degree programs, visit pacs.ou.edu/degrees.