Former KU men’s basketball player and Naismith Hall of Fame member Al Kelley passes away
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Former Kansas men’s basketball guard and Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member Al Kelley died in Lawrence, Kansas, Saturday, Aug. 13, his family confirmed with Kansas Athletics. Kelley was 83.
“Al Kelley is Kansas basketball,” KU head coach Bill Self said. “He had a great career, which included winning a national championship at KU (1952) and a gold medal for the USA at the 1960 Olympics. He was always a pleasure when he would come to the office or a practice and was a fixture at home games. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Kelley was a three-year letterman at Kansas for head coach Dr. F.C. “Phog” Allen from 1952-54 and was a sophomore on the 1952 NCAA National Championship team. He was an All-Big Seven Conference first-team selection in both his junior and senior seasons. In his three seasons at KU, Kelley won an NCAA title, three Big Seven Conference regular-season championships and two Big Seven Holiday Tournaments.
Kelley was a member of the 1960 USA Men’s Olympic team that was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. His gold medal resides in the Booth Family Hall of Athletics in Allen Fieldhouse.
Following his KU career, Kelley was chosen in the seventh round, the 56th overall selection, of the 1954 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Hawks. Kelley chose instead to play for the AAU Caterpillars in Peoria, Illinois. In his first season with the Caterpillars in 1954, Kelley helped lead the team to the AAU national title and the 1954 World Basketball Championship in Brazil.
Originally from McCune, Kansas, Kelley and his wife Barbara, from Oskaloosa, Kansas, lived in Lawrence for 16 years after he retired from Caterpillar. He was inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.
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