Athletics News

George Kelly Passes Away At Age 75

March 3, 2003

  • Funeral Arrangements

    NOTRE DAME, Ind. - George Kelly, special assistant to the athletic director and a 34-year member of the Notre Dame athletic staff, died at his home tonight following a short illness. He was 75.

    Probably best known as a 17-year assistant football coach from 1969-85 for Irish head coaches Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine and Gerry Faust, Kelly most recently worked as a liaison with athletic director Kevin White's office in terms of football and basketball operations, working particularly in the football scheduling area.

    He shifted into the administrative wing beginning in '86 after coaching a long list of All-America inside linebackers since first joining the Irish football staff in 1969. A key figure in molding a long series of top-notch defensive units, he developed 13 linebackers selected to perform at the professional level.

    George Kelly (right) with longtime friend and fellow Notre Dame legend Rev. Jim Riehle, C.S.C.


    "George understood the fiber of Notre Dame as well as anyone I've met since I've come to South Bend," said White.

    "He spanned the decades as far as the University was concerned, and there was hardly anyone connected with Notre Dame, especially from the football standpoint, that George didn't touch. There's no way to measure his love for Notre Dame, much less all the contributions he has made to the University over the years."

    After graduating from Notre Dame in 1953, Kelly remained in South Bend and joined the football staff at St. Joseph's High School. The following year he assumed the head football coaching reins at the school and spent three years in that capacity.

    Kelly jumped to the collegiate ranks following the 1956 season, beginning as an assistant coach at Marquette. He moved to Nebraska where he spent eight seasons (1961-1968) as an assistant under Husker head coaches Bill Jennings and Bob Devaney. With Kelly a key member of the Nebraska brain trust, the Huskers led the nation in total defense in 1963 and 1967 and had a combined record of 59-16. He joined the Parseghian staff following the '68 season. Kelly coached under three head coaches who are members of the College Football Hall of Fame -Devaney, Parseghian and Devine.

    Among the standout Irish linebackers he coached were all-stars Bob Olson ('69 captain), Greg Collins ('74 captain), Bob Golic ('78 captain) and Bob Crable ('80-'81 captain). The Irish defense ranked among the top 10 nationally six times during his tenure, including 1974 when it ranked first (195.2 yards per game).

    George Kelly was one of the most beloved and respected assistant coaches in Notre Dame football history, serving on the staffs of Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine and Gerry Faust (1969-85).


    Kelly has received numerous awards, including the 1989 Harvey Foster Award, given by the Notre Dame Alumni Association; in 1990, a University of Notre Dame Special Presidential Award; in 1991, the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Award of the Year; in 1993, the Moose Krause Award from the Notre Dame Club of Chicago and the Edward Krause Distinguished Citizen Award, given by the Notre Dame Quarterback Club; and in 1997 the Moose Krause Award by the Notre Dame National Monogram Club as its member of the year.

    Born July 6, 1927 in Rockford, Ill., Kelly and his wife, the former Gloria Haddad, have four children: Barbara Gorbitz, Patti, Lori (Mrs. Ronald Janowczyk) and Kevin (who is married to the former Carrie Reda), who graduated from the University in '85 after earning four monograms as the Irish special-teams center.

    Funeral arrangements are pending, with details available through the Notre Dame Sports Information Office (574-631-7516) or on www.und.com.

  • Shop Now

    Nissan

    Auctions

    Official ND Online Auctions // Bid Now »

    Gear Store

    Get your Official ND Gear // Shop Now »

    Event Calendar

    Delta

    April 26
    W, 5-0
    Eastern Michigan
    Notre Dame, IN
    RECAP

    103.1 FM
    WatchND
    ACC Network Extra
    April 26
    W, 4-0
    Pittsburgh ACC Championship First Round
    Rome, Ga. (Rome Tennis Center)
    RECAP
    April 27
    1:00 PM
    Penn Relays
    Philadelphia, Pa. (University of Penn-Ben Franklin Field)
    RECAP
    April 27
    L, 17-14
    Boston College
    Richmond, Va. (Sports Backer Stadium)
    RECAP

    RSN/ACC Network Challenge
    April 27
    L, 4-3
    Louisville ACC Championship Second Round
    Rome, Ga. (Rome Tennis Center)
    RECAP
    April 27
    L, 4-0
    Clemson ACC Championship Second Round
    Rome, Ga. (Rome Tennis Center)
    RECAP
    April 28
    4:05 PM
    Duke
    Notre Dame, IN

    WatchND
    ACC Network Extra
    April 28
    TBA
    Duke
    Notre Dame, IN

    103.1 FM
    April 28
    7:30 PM
    Mexico U-18 National Team
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)

    ESPN3
    ESPN3
    Espanol Broadcast
    April 28
    5:00 PM
    Mexico U-20 Womens National Team
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)

    WatchESPN
    ESPN3
    April 28
    12:00 PM
    Gina Relays
    Hillsdale, Mich. (Hillsdale College-Ken Herrick Track)
    April 28
    1:00 PM
    Penn Relays
    Philadelphia, Pa. (University of Penn-Ben Franklin Field)
    April 28
    4:00 PM
    ACC Championship Quarterfinals
    Rome, Ga. (Rome Tennis Center)
    April 28
    5:00 PM
    Dale England Cup
    Bloomington, IN
    April 28
    8:30 PM
    Duke
    Durham, N.C.

    ESPNEWS
    Live Stats
    April 29
    1:05 PM
    Duke
    Notre Dame, IN

    103.1 FM
    WatchND
    ACC Network Extra
    April 29
    1:00 PM
    Arkansas
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)

    ACC Network Extra
    ACC Network Extra
    April 29
    3:00 PM
    Arkansas
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)

    ACC Network Extra
    ACC Network Extra
    April 29
    2:30 PM
    Alumni Game
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
    April 29
    8:00 AM
    Dale England Cup
    Bloomington, IN
    April 29
    12:00 PM
    Gina Relays
    Hillsdale, Mich. (Hillsdale College-Ken Herrick Track)
    April 29
    1:00 PM
    Penn Relays
    Philadelphia, Pa. (University of Penn-Ben Franklin Field)
    April 29
    2:00 PM
    ACC Championship Semifinals
    Rome, Ga. (Rome Tennis Center)
    April 30
    12:00 PM
    Arkansas
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)

    ACC Network Extra
    ACC Network Extra
    April 30
    12:00 PM
    ACC Tournament Final
    Durham, N.C.

    ESPNU
    April 30
    2:00 PM
    ACC Championship Final
    Rome, Ga. (Rome Tennis Center)
    May 2
    7:05 PM
    Northwestern
    Notre Dame, IN

    WatchND
    May 3
    6:00 PM
    Butler
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)

    ACC Network Extra
    May 5
    6:05 PM
    Louisville
    Notre Dame, IN

    103.1 FM
    WatchND
    May 5
    6:00 PM
    Boston College
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)

    ACC Network Extra

    NCAA Infractions Report

    St. Joseph Health System Nissan Delta Canon Visit South Bend Mishawaka Vivid Seats