Dick Kelley, 1965-2014
Feb. 14, 2014
How many times have we heard the expression "he died doing what he loved"?
For Dick Kelley, who loved working for Boston College - especially with its basketball team - this was not possible. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) robbed him of that ability some time ago. But what happened Thursday evening in a room on the 22nd floor of Massachusetts General Hospital had to come very close. The two people Dick loved most - his parents, Ann and Ed - sat by his hospital bed and relayed play-by-play of the Boston College-Georgia Tech basketball game. Shortly thereafter, Dick closed his eyes one final time and passed peacefully. Boston College basketball; Ann; Ed; heaven.
Though many people have loved Boston College equally, none loved the Jesuit institution more than Dick Kelley. After graduating from BC and working for two years in the BU Sports Information office, Dick returned to 321 Conte Forum and never left. In his 22 years as the primary contact for BC men's basketball, he touched the lives of hundreds of coaches, co-workers, student-athletes, media members and colleagues. He also contributed mightily to other programs such as men's ice hockey, soccer and football.
He preached his mantra of "positive and humble" to the likes of Craig Smith, Jared Dudley, Pete Mitchell, Matt Ryan, Mike Mottau, Chris Kreider and hundreds of others, no doubt helping them perfect their grammar and interview skills along the way. The skills he inherited from his teacher parents were evident in his tough love approach with Eagle student-athletes. He once famously told Matt Ryan "You're a Boston College graduate, why don't you sound like it once in a while?".
Dick was well known as a mentor to dozens of sports information student assistants and interns through the years. His no-nonsense, tough love approach fooled few, as his heart of gold inevitably won them over. Many of his protégés have gone on to highly successful careers in college athletics, professional football, network television, journalism and other fields. Dick received many accolades on a professional level and last February was given the US Basketball Writers Association's Most Courageous Award prior to the BC-Virginia basketball game before the longest standing ovation in the history of Conte Forum. Following the game, which BC won on a last-second shot, the entire team mobbed him on press row, a testament to the program's affection for a man who devoted so much of his life to his work.
In addition to his parents, Dick is survived by brother Ted and his wife Carrie, brother Patrick, nephews Michael and Ryan and nieces Emma and Meghan.
Visitation hours are Monday, Feb. 17 from 4-8 p.m. at the Lehman, Reen & McNamara Funeral Home, 630 Chestnut Hill Ave., Brighton. A Funeral Mass will be held Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Church of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, 28 Commonwealth Ave., Chestnut Hill.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Dick's honor to Compassionate Care ALS, P. O. Box 1052, W. Falmouth, MA 02574 or at www.CCALS.org.