All about Shannon Kelley – American Football Coach and Mary Lou Retton’s Ex-Husband

By | April 5, 2024

Shannon Kelley is known for his skills as the starting quarterback of the Texas Longhorns in 1988. He pursued a business career as a partner in an investment firm and a real estate developer before marrying Mary Lou Retton, an Olympian and popular American gymnast.

After pursuing a business career, he returned to his true passion, football, and worked as the assistant head football coach at Houston Christian University. Currently, he serves as the Account Manager at NETSYNC.

Shannon Kelley, American football coach and businessman

Shannon Kelley, American football coach and businessman

Early Life

Shannon Kelley was raised in the United States. He showcased his exceptional athletic skills at an early age. He was a Class 5A All-State quarterback during his high school days at Houston Memorial High School, which kickstarted his football career. During his college years in 1988, Shannon made a name for himself by becoming the starting quarterback of the Texas Longhorns.

Talking about his appearance and personal details, Shannon is known to be 6 ft 1 inch tall, which is 1.85m on the meter scale. He weighs 170 pounds, which is precisely 77kg, and his eye color is a vibrant bluish green.

Education and Football Career

Like Mary Lou, Shannon is known for his career in the sports world. He played college football at the University of Texas from 1984 to 1988, making three bowl appearances while earning his bachelor's degree in Communications.

He went on to earn his master's degree in Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. He started his business career partnering with an investment firm and real estate developer. However, the former National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) star returned to his roots by becoming a quarterback coach at Fairmont State University in West Virginia, Mary Lou's hometown.

He worked with the Fighting Falcons for two years in the 2009 and 2010 seasons before leaving for Pennsylvania Western University, California, where he was the director of athletic fundraising and became the running backs coach at Division II California (PA) University for the 2011 season. In 2012, he was hired as the offensive assistant coach, primarily working with running backs, at Division I FCS Houston Baptist University for the Huskies' first season of collegiate football.

Shannon Kelley hired as offensive assistant coach for the Huskies

Shannon Kelley hired as offensive assistant coach for the Huskies

The Head Coach for the Huskies, Vic Shealy, spoke fondly about how Shannon started his football career at Houston High School and his accomplishments along the way. Vic was happy to have Shannon at Houston Baptist University, where he will not only be effective on the field but also in recruiting players within the community. In 2020, Shannon left the team and became a businessman, working as an account manager with NETSYNC.

Nevertheless, football represented just the first chapter in Shannon Kelley's career. He shifted his attention towards real estate development, taking advantage of his academic foundation and strategic intelligence. Shannon's influence in the real estate sector has been significant, and he now occupies the esteemed role of Vice President of Development at Houston Baptist University.

Marriage to Mary Lou Retton

Mary Lou Retton, an Olympian and popular American gymnast, retired from professional gymnastics in 1986 and enrolled at the University of Texas. Shannon was a student at the University. The two started dating and got engaged in 1989, shortly before they graduated. They tied the knot in December 1990.

Mary Lou Retton, an Olympian and American Gymnast

Mary Lou Retton, an Olympian and American Gymnast

The Kelley Family

Shannon and Mary's marriage was blessed with four daughters - Shayla, McKenna, Skyla and Emma.

Their eldest daughter, Shayla, was born five years after their marriage. She graduated from Baylor University in 2017 with a degree in Health Science. She was competitive in gymnastics in college, though she did not pursue it following graduation. In January 2020, Shayla married Wyatt Schrepfer and has since developed a passion for bodybuilding, participating in various competitions since 2022.

McKenna, the couple's second child, was born in 1997 and also followed in her mom's footsteps. She attended Louisiana State University, where she helped her team win second place at the 2019 NCAA Gymnastics Championship.

Shannon Kelley and Mary Lou Retton with their four daughters

Shannon Kelley and Mary Lou Retton with their four daughters

Mary and Shannon's third daughter, Skyla, was born in 2000 and graduated from Texas Tech University in 2023. Though she did not compete in gymnastics, she was a cheerleader at school. In 2002, the couple welcomed their youngest daughter, Emma. She attends the University of Arkansas, where she is part of the gymnastics team.

While the girls share their love for sports with their mother, they have a special bond with Shannon. In an interview, Mary mentioned that she loves seeing the precious moments Shannon shares with them. He becomes so free-spirited around them that when they were little, he'd let them put makeup on him while playing dress up.

The Couple's Separation

Mary Lou Retton and Shannon Kelley, like every other married pair, went through their fair share of difficulties. The demands of their different occupations, along with the constant assessment of the public, put their relationship under strain. However, the couple managed to keep their personal lives out of the prying eyes of the public and work through their problems quietly.

Despite their efforts to stay together, Mary Lou Retton and Shannon Kelley put an end to their marital union after 27 years of marriage in February 2018. Retton revealed the news during her time on Dancing with the Stars. She said they didn't tell many people other than their family and close loved ones about the split. Mary further mentioned that she kept the separation private initially because she values her privacy. However, she eventually decided to open up about the challenges she was facing.

Mary Lou Retton and Shannon Kelley at their wedding

Mary Lou Retton and Shannon Kelley at their wedding

Mary also shared that it was something that needed to happen for a long time, and while they still loved each other, they weren't great together anymore. During the divorce from Shannon, Mary Lou admitted that it was a tough phase for their daughters, but they were her strongest support system. During an interview with PEOPLE, she spoke about her daughters and how amazing they were. Although Mary Lou couldn't share a lot about the divorce with them, she and Shannon promised that they would always spend the holidays together and make the separation as seamless and painless as possible for their girls.

Life After Divorce

Although the divorce was difficult, Mary believed she was ready for the next chapter of her life. Both Retton and Kelley have shown maturity and a steadfast commitment to their children. They have maintained a cordial relationship and effectively co-parented their four daughters, proving their dedication to their family's well-being despite the hurdles they faced in their personal lives.

Shannon is currently single and living his life dedicated to pursuing his personal interests and goals. He has a positive impact on his daughters' lives. At 51, Shannon's net worth is an impressive $5 million, and his profile can be found on LinkedIn and Facebook. His versatile career comprising football, coaching and business has greatly contributed to his wealth.

With a monthly income exceeding $465,000 and annual earnings supported by his diverse roles, Shannon Kelley has secured his place among the affluent personalities in the United States.

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