Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Sports

February 20, 2014

BC mourns passing of quiet giant

Kelley succumbs to ALS at 48

(Continued)

Before ALS forced Kelley to use a feeding tube, the Kelley family said York would often bring his friend dinner and help feed him.

There are many stories of the BC community giving back to the man who gave it so much.

Ex-Eagles star Ben Smith visited Kelley’s apartment unannounced last summer ... with the Stanley Cup!

New York Rangers star Chris Kreider from Boxford and Phillips Academy would regularly stop by. Don’t anybody dare say a bad word around the Kelley family around basketball coach Steve Donahue, who, along with his players, was devoted to him until the end.

Kelley won several national awards. He was honored for his decades of selfless service to BC and to the media from coast to coast. But more so for the “quiet dignity,” as Clark called it, with which he faced his disease.

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The last thing Dick sought was the spotlight, but he was front and center for one of the most memorable wins in BC basketball history.

Last March 3, Kelley was honored with the U.S. Basketball Writers Association’s prestigious Courage Award before the game. The usually church-quiet BC crowd, many moved to tears, gave Kelley one of the loudest and longest ovations in the 25-year history of the Conte Forum.

Kelley, too, couldn’t hold back the tears. BC had been in a tailspin and Virginia was coming off a win over third-ranked Duke. All appeared lost with BC down 8 with 4:27 left against one of the top defensive teams in the country.

But the Eagles stormed back and won with eight seconds left on a 3-pointer by Joe Rahon a mere feet away from where Kelley was seated in his wheelchair.

It was straight from Hollywood. The players then swarmed Kelley, planting kisses on his bald head.

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