He excelled in three sports while a student at Cardington High School, graduating in 1952. On Dec. 29, 2016, Donald G. Kelley became the first athlete graduating in a class prior to 1970 to be inducted into the Cardington-Lincoln High School’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
The award, made posthumously, was presented to his son, David Kelley, of Kansas City, Missouri, who was accompanied by his two sons, Ryan, 14, and Alex, 12. One plaque was placed on the school’s Hall of Fame wall and the other given to David.
Sponsored by the school’s Athletic Council, the award was presented by Athletic Director Bill Clauss and High School Principal Joe Mills.
The plaque notes a few of Kelley’s honors- named to first team All-Ohio basketball team by the International News Service in 1952 and to the second team All-Ohio (AP & UPI).
A 1956 graduate of The Ohio State University, the plaque notes he was a three year starter on the basketball team and was captain in 1956 and he was a three year starter on the baseball team, named All American in 1956. He was also an OSU baseball captain that year.
He was head basketball coach at Marietta College for 11 years; assistant basketball coach at Iowa State University and the University of Missouri for eight years; associate athletic director at Missouri for three years before becoming the Athletic Director at Illinois State University where he served four years. He then became the commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and was athletic director at the University of North Florida from where he retired. Kelley passed away in 1999.
David said, “We very much appreciate that so many people still remember and appreciate what he was able to do in high school. We enjoyed the many people who took the time to share stories about my dad.”
David and his sons were guests of Bill and Barbara Henthorne during the afternoon. Bill was a teammate and classmate of Kelley.
David thanked the Henthornes and the half dozen or more who approached them during the game following the award ceremony. “Those stories and the experience of being there are priceless and never would have happened without the care and concern of so many involved”
Kelley also thanked Bill Clauss for all he did “to make this a great night. He met us when we arrived and showed us where my dad went to school, where he used to live, the fields he played on and the former gym, (now the library), where he played basketball. He also arranged for us to spend time with Mr. and Mrs. Henthorne and after almost 90 minutes we were blown away by the many things they were able to share that we would never otherwise known! I can’t say enough about how welcome we felt. The entire experience was an A+ including the varsity team approaching us following the award to shake hands. Couldn’t have asked for a better night.”
Among those nominating Donald Kelley to this honor was Roy Ault, a roommate when they were students at the Ohio State University.
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