Record: 355 wins, 162 losses. Eight time Western Conference Coach of the Year. Six time Region XII NJCAA Coach of the Year. Three time MCCAA State Coach of the Year, including last year when his team edged Macomb in the MCCAA Association Championship game. Coach was also awarded his third Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan Community College Women's Coach of the Year in the awards ceremony at the BCAM Coaches clinic in early October of 2012. He has coached three All American players and has taken six teams to the NJCAA Div II National tournament, never finishing below 5th place and coming up a bit short in the National semi-finals twice.
Welch has coached at almost every level, ranging from 5th and 6th grade, to high school varsity, to assisting at a four year school (Nazareth College in Kalamazoo - 1988 thru 1990), to his current position. Coach Welch coached his first team in 1964, an 8th grade boys team, at Brown City High School and was bitten by the coaching "bug". Other stops along the way locally include a stint as Athletic Director and Varsity girls' basketball coach at Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Central from 1983-1988, and then as Varsity girls' basketball coach at Comstock High School from 1992 thru 1996. In Late February of 1995, Welch was hired as Head Coach at Kalamazoo Valley and for one year held both the varsity girls job at Comstock and the head coach position at Kalamazoo Valley. Although he has coached both boys and girls at various levels, Coach Welch made a strong commitment to coaching the female athlete in 1985, and has not coached a boys team since then. He still enjoys working with the younger players as well as college level players and each summer directs the popular Lady Cougar Basketball Camp for players ages 11 thru 17. "Our goal in the women's basketball program here at Kalamazoo Valley was pretty simple when we started," says Welch. "We wanted to raise the level of play in the women's program to mirror that of coach Shilts' men's program and become competitive in the always tough Western Conference of the MCCAA. We knew we would be competitive at the national level because the Western conference has proven it's one of the strongest division II conferences in the United States." Mission accomplished. The Lady Cougar program has become nationally recognized, winning 23 games or more seven out of the last eleven years. During that span the Cougars have not finished lower than third in the conference and have claimed the championship - or a share of it - eight times (twice undefeated at 14-0!) They have also collected three MCCCA State Championships - and two runner up spots, six NJCAA Region XII, District G Championships(runners up in 2007), making six trips to the NJCAA National Division II Championships. Welch's Cougars have advanced to the national semi-final game twice ('01/'02 and '03/'04) unfortunately taking close losses both times to knock them out of the hunt for a National championship. Stressing recruiting, Welch continues, "We feel that our success in recent years (the freshmen class for twelve of the last thirteen years has made at least one trip to the national tournament and also won or shared at least one conference championship)has been accomplished with an aggressive recruiting effort within the local area, while still being open to student athletes from outside the area. By making more people aware of the fine academic and athletic opportunities offered here at Kalamazoo Valley, we have expanded our recruiting base by having some of the finest players from the area stay here for their first two years of competition. We take a lot of pride in the fact that we've been able to help place athletes into four year school situations after their time here if they wanted to continue to play."