Former Kansas Guard Allen Kelley Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame

Aug. 12, 2010

By Katie Cook, Kansas Athletics Media Relations Student Assistant

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Former Kansas guard Al Kelley, who was a member of the 1960 USA Men’s Olympic team, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame along with his teammates on Friday. Included as members of the 1960 squad were former Jayhawk team manager Arthur “Dutch” Lonborg and KU trainer Dean Nesmith who are both deceased.

Joining the 1960 USA Men’s Olympic team in this year’s class of inductees included Dr. Jerry Buss, Cynthia Cooper, Bob Hurley, Sr., Karl Malone and Scottie Pippen, along with the celebrated 1992 US Men’s Olympic team, known as the “Dream Team.” The Class of 2010 also included three legendary players: Dennis Johnson, Gus Johnson and international star Maciel “Ubiratan” Pereira, all of whom will be honored posthumously.

It was a great honor for Kelley to be a member of the 1960 Olympic team as he explained, “They used to pick Olympic teams differently than they do now. I was on the Caterpillar team (an AAU team) and the college team beat us. At that time everything went through the AAU tournament. Since the college team beat us, they were the No.1 team and that meant they had the rights to go to the Olympics. They took eight of their own boys, two from my team – Bob Boozer and myself – and one guy from Oklahoma.”

Kelley participated in five of the U.S. eight victories and the 1960 team went on that year to win the gold medal in Rome, Italy; winning every game played by 30 points or more.

“I loved having Al on my teams,” 1960 USA assistant coach Warren Womble said at the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. “Every team needs a ‘mixture,’ and Al was our ‘mixture,’ always getting us straight when we weren’t playing well. He always had the respect of his teammates.”

“It was a real thrill for me to go to the Olympics,” Kelly said. “Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Jerry Lucas and Terry Dischinger were really quality players. It was an honor for me to have a front row seat.”

Kelley was a three-year letterman at Kansas for head coach Phog Allen from 1952-54 and was a member of the 1952 NCAA National Championship team. He was an All-Big Seven Conference first-team selection in 1953 and 1954. His gold medal from the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome is in the Booth Family Hall of Athletics located on the East side of Allen Fieldhouse. Originally from McCune, Kan., Kelley and his wife Barbara, from Oskaloosa, Kan., have lived in Lawrence for 10 years since he retired from Caterpillar.

Lonborg, who served as KU Director of Athletics from 1950-64, was inducted as an individual to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1972. He was instrumental in organizing the first NCAA basketball tournament in 1939 while coaching basketball at Northwestern. Nesmith was a KU legend in athletic training, having served 46 years at Kansas from 1938-84.

Kelley and Nesmith join 16 others who have KU ties to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The latest included former Jayhawk men’s basketball coach Roy Williams who was enshrined in 2007. Others with years inducted are Dr. James Naismith (1959), Dr. F.C. Allen (1959), E.C. Quigley (1961), John Bunn (1964), Adolph Rupp (1959), Paul Endacott (1971), Dutch Lonborg (1972), Bill Johnson (1976), John McClendon (1978), Wilt Chamberlain (1978), Dean Smith (1984), Ralph Miller (1988), Clyde Lovellette (1988), Larry Brown (2002) and Lynette Woodard (2004).

The 2010 induction ceremonies were televised on NBA TV and NBA.com.