Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Sports

February 20, 2014

BC mourns passing of quiet giant

Kelley succumbs to ALS at 48

Dick Kelley could have gone to top law schools or pursued several lucrative business opportunities out of college.

Later on, other universities and professional sports teams offered jobs.

But Dick Kelley leave Boston College? Preposterous! Kelley, who never married, and the school had a nearly 30-year love affair.

Kelley, Boston College’s longtime sports information director, lost his nearly three-year battle with ALS — amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — last Thursday, Feb. 13. The Andover native was 48.

A quiet, humble man, his impact was profound on the school, its athletes and its teams. The dreaded Lou Gehrig’s disease soon robbed him of his speech and his mobility, but his character and compassion remained as strong as a 300-pound Boston College lineman.

Legendary BC hockey coach Jerry York was a close friend of Kelley’s.

“If we can model our lives, all of us, watching how he went through his life, that will be our tribute to Richard,” York said.

“I was fortunate to list him as a real friend from my first press conference until his untimely death.”

The Eagles were wearing a “DK” decal on their helmets in their recent game against the University of Vermont.

“That will be our tribute to Richard,” said York, who praised Kelley for “always trying to make us better as people, not just hockey and basketball players.”

Kelley’s relationship with the university was unique. Colleagues marvel at the hours he put in. About the only one who ever beat him to the office was the workaholic coach Tom Coughlin in his days at the Heights.

“BC remained everything to Dick,” said Tim Clark of the BC sports information department. “He remained an employee of the institution until physically he couldn’t do it any more. It speaks to the level of devotion he had to the place.”

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