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In Memory



Paul L. Kelly

Aug. 5, 1900 - Jun. 11, 1991


SOUTH BEND – Paul “Spike” Kelly, 90, of Medco Center, died at 4:10 a.m. Tuesday in Memorial Hospital.

Mr. Kelly retired in 1957 as a coach and teacher at Riley High School. He was born Aug. 5, 1900 in Fayette, Iowa. On June 10, 1925, in Hawkeye, Iowa, he married Merriam B. Bortner. She died April 22, 1987. He is survived by a sister, Helen Cushion of Denver; and several nieces and nephews.

He was a member of Grace United Methodist Church, Elks Lodge 235, and was active in numerous charitable and civic organizations. He was former president of Indiana High School Coaches Association, was inducted into Phi Delta Kappa Scholastic and Professional Fraternity in 1948, and the Notre Dame Chapter of the Football Hall of Fame in 1973. He received degrees from Upper Iowa University and Iowa State University, and received an honorary doctorate degree of humanities from Upper Iowa.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday in Grace United Methodist Church. Burial will be at St. Joseph Valley Memorial Park, Granger. Friends may call from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday in Forest G. Hay Funeral Home, 435 S. Ironwood Drive. Memorial contributions may be made to the church.

Published in the South Bend Tribune on June 12, 1991.


Paul "Spike" Kelly

Wabash Valley profiles : a series of tributes to hometown heroes who have made a difference.

Description: One typed page including photograph; biography of Paul L. Kelly, Indiana coaching legend.
ABASH VALLEY WP R O F I L E SA series of tributes to hometown heroes who have made a difference.Paul "Spike" Kellyaul L. "Spike" Kelly was raised in a small Iowa community on the Volga River before embarking upon a career that made him an Indiana coaching legend. The esteem in which Kelly is held by his players is a primary reason he is one of six men being enshrined in the Wabash Valley High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Friday evening, June 24, at the Holiday Inn. Other inaugural inductees are Jay Barrett, Bob Clements, John Fallis, Dick Martin and Pete Varda. Born Aug. 5, 1900, Kelly spent his first 24 years in Fayette, Iowa, graduating from Upper Iowa University (UIU) in 1924. He was strongly motivated by John E. "Doc" Dorman, a superb local athlete. A dentist, Dr. Dorman coached football, basketball and baseball at UIU without compensation from 1907 until his death in 1963. Upon earning his college diploma, Kelly accepted a position Photo courtesy of at Clinton High School, coaching football and basketball. Garnett DeBaun Immediately successful, Spike compiled a 9-1 football record in 1924, losing only to Robinson, Ill., while defeating Sullivan, 101-0. Undefeated against Indiana competition, Clinton was one of two claimants for the mythical state title; Elkhart was the other. The season initiated Clinton's "Golden Age of Football," which lasted for more than two decades. In seven years, Kelly accumulated a 50-11-4 football record at the Vermillion County school. The 9-0 Wildcats were declared the undisputed 1928 state champion by the Indianapolis Times. Legendary Notre Dame Coach Knute Rockne spoke at the season-ending banquet in Clinton on Dec. 11. Kelly's players at Clinton included future college stars John Magnabosco, Fred and Ettore "Fat" Antonini, Clifford "Pooch" Marsh, Chick Shannon, Tony Sungalia, Max Malone, Fred Vanzo and Chris Dal Sasso. Several became honored coaches. Coach Kelly also won five sectionals and one regional in basketball, compiling a 139-52 record. Kelly resigned in 1931 to become football and basketball coach at rival Sullivan High School. After a slow start (3-6 in his first football season), he compiled a 80-28-4 record over 12 years, including 9-0 in 1937. Outscoring opponents 237-38, Kelly again claimed a mythical Indiana football title. Future Terre Haute Wiley Coach Dick Martin was quarterback on Kelly's 1938 Wabash Valley championship team at Sullivan, which lost to Whiting but beat Evansville Reitz, Robinson and Garfield. Led by future football legend Stewart "Red" Faught, Sullivan was 9-1 in 1940 and 1941, losing only in Evansville. Altogether, Kelly's teams won six Wabash Valley championships and 110 of his players were inspired to go into coaching. His career football coaching record was 214-82-16. Surprisingly, Kelly relocated to South Bend in 1943 to coach football and baseball at Riley High School until retiring in 1956. After 14 seasons, he was 84-42-4 in football and 146-99 in baseball and served as Indiana Football Coaches Association president in 1950. Faught became Kelly's assistant at Riley and Lou Mihajlovich, later an Indiana University end and head coach at Terre Haute Schulte, was among his players. Spike was awarded an honorary doctorate by his college alma mater in 1971 and, two years later, he was inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame. The Paul and Merriam Kelly Scholarship was established at UIU in 1987. Kelly died in South Bend on June 11, 1991.PAlways Close to Home812-238-6000EQUAL HOUSING LENDER MEMBER FDICARTS ILLIANA SUMMERTIME CONCERT SERIES Sponsored by First Financial Bank & Rave Salon Second in a Series of Friday Bring your lunch & enjoy the acoustic sounds of JOHN STEPHEN LEE ConcertsJune17Live Music LunchN o o n to 1:30 p.m. Crossroads Plaza Stage(in front of parking garage on Wabash)File name: Paul "Spike" Kelly profileDate Published: June 16, 2005
Origin: 2005-06-22
Created By: McCormick, Mike
Publisher: Terre Haute Tribune-Star
Source: http://indianamemory.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/vchs/id/555
Collection: Vigo County Historical Society
Rights: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/UND/1.0/
Copyright: Copyright Undetermined
Subjects: Kelly, Paul L., 1900-1991
Coaches (Athletics)


09/12/2023 DEC

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