I took a little trip out to Colorado over the weekend and didn’t get back until late Wednesday afternoon. We left on Saturday morning and arrived about noon in Denver and drove up to Winter Park and woke up Sunday morning to the news of the passing of Dale Kelley. A lot of thoughts went through my mind and naturally the first was sadness but the bible says there is a time appointed for all of us.
My thought then went from sadness to remembrance of a man that left not only an impact on others but a legacy for all of us to attempt to mimic. Mr. Kelley will be known for being a visionary and leading the way to not only make the state of Tennessee better but Carroll County and the community of Huntingdon. I would imagine that the name Kelley will be seen and heard for many years to come and along with that will be the knowledge that life has become better for all who knew him.
To me it will be the athletic career of Dale that will always remain in this old feeble mind. Dale was a two-sport athlete at Bethel, playing baseball and basketball. Later in life he would become the athletic director of the University he served so well and helped make Bethel become a nationally known name because of his connections with the sports world.
I’m a sports guy and this is a sports column so I won’t get in to politics and such concerning Dale but I will touch on sports. I was just a kid when I remember him and a lot of guys I would come to know played on this independent baseball team. I was 15-years old and remembering riding my bike to Edwards Park to watch those guys play and man were they good. I have fond memories of those days. Little did I know at the time that I would play softball with Dale and some of these guys in church league as an 18-year-old. Again, memories that will last forever.
The biggest thing I will remember about Dale Kelley is that he officiated three final fours. You have to be a very good official to get to do that. He was friends with legendary coaches, Joe B. Hall and Bobby Knight. He has told me stories of those days he officiated and I still remember several of those stories. Dale later became supervisor of officials for five major division one conferences which was a huge responsibility and another testament to how good he was at officiating.
I didn’t get back in time for the services but I consider Dale’s son Cliff as one of the best people I will ever know which is another testament to what kind of man Dale Kelley was. His daughter Amanda and I have daughters of our own who are still best friends after going off in different directions after high school and thus Amanda and I have always had a connection because of them. Meredith his third child became a Surber and has sons that are and have left an impact on McKenzie sports.
A great man is gone but he leaves behind a lot for us to look up to and remember how he left an impact and legacy for all of us to follow. Check out The Beating Around the Bush Podcast available of Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other places you find your podcast.