ALPENA — Regardless of what sport he competed in, Bob Kelley was a star.
Kelley, a 1954 Alpena High graduate, earned eight letters as a Wildcat; he earned three each in football and baseball and two in basketball.
After successes as an athlete and as a coach, Kelley will be honored as one of Alpena’s very best on Saturday when he’s inducted into the Alpena Sports Hall of Fame.
He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame along with Terry Thomas and Tom Lavoie, Bruce VanderWall, Jim Hubert, Eric Puls, and Shannon Woloszyk during the 37th annual banquet on May 7 at the APlex.
The banquet has been canceled each of the last two years due to COVID-19 concerns.
On the gridiron, Kelley established himself as a key defender on talented Alpena teams that included players like Dick Straley, Wayne Elowsky, and future Alpena Sports Hall of Famers, Bob Rohn and Hugo Burzlaff. During Kelley’s senior season in the fall of 1953, Alpena went 6-2-1 under new coach Bill Beach and won the Arrowhead Conference. Kelley established himself as a multi-positional player who scored on a blocked punt in a game vs. Owosso and pinned the opposition back with well-placed punts.
In basketball, Kelley played under Alpena Sports Hall of Famer Jim Ross and was a guard on teams that included many of the same athletes who had success in football at that time.
On the diamond, Kelley was a star pitcher. During one week of pitching, Kelley threw 27 innings while allowing just three hits. He went on to pitch at Alpena Community College, where he threw a no-hitter and earned all-conference honors.
Kelley’s athletic talents weren’t just limited to high school or college. He was a speedskating champion in Alpena and a slow pitch softball star, once batting .757.
After his playing days, Kelley got into coaching baseball and football. In baseball, Kelley won the Detroit Metro Catholic League Championship in Tiger Stadium. In football, he was chosen the Michigan High School Coach of the Year, winning 81% of his team’s games.