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Legends of Indiana High School Football: Paul "Spike" Kelly


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Paul "Spike" KellyCheck out the first installment in our new series, the Legends of Indiana High School Football. We look back at Paul "Spike" Kelly, the hall of fame coach who guided Clinton, Sullivan and South Bend Riley to multiple championships over 30+ years, including three state crowns.

http://www.almanacsports.com/article.php?news_id=2022051301

Please let me know what you think and who should be featured in the next installment?

Thanks,
Dan "Rudy" Engler

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12 hours ago, dazed and confused said:

Nice article but why his nickname "Spike" ?

Great question! I looked but never could find an answer. Back then, many coaches seemed to have nicknames but the papers didn’t elaborate how they got them 

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I was surprised and pleased to see the fine biography of Coach Spike Kelly.  I suppose I am the only GID poster to have attended games when Kelly was one of the coaches.  Being a lifetime Linton Miner fan, I experienced the difficulty of my team playing against the Sullivan Golden Arrows when Spike Kelly was there.  Our series with the Arrows began in 1904 and Linton dominated the early years winning 15 of the first 19 games.  As the article states, Coach Kelly came to Sullivan from Clinton in 1931, which BTW is my birth year.  Clinton was also a Linton opponent in those early years.  Linton defeated Sullivan and Coach Kelly in his first three years, the last being 27 - 0 in 1933 when, in the undefeated Wabash Valley Champion Miners only allowed 6 points all season.  However, the tide turned in 1934 and Linton never defeated Sullivan again until 1945 when in the annual Armistice Day game, The undefeated Miners won 22-0 at Sullivan.  That was after Spike had gone to South Bend Riley.  I fondly remember that game as a HS freshman.  The following year, the Miners opened the season against Kelly's No 1 ranked South Bend Riley team at South Bend.  That was quite a trip from Southwestern Indiana to South Bend in those days.  I went to the game as a member of the LHS band and along with the team, stayed overnight at South Bend.  The game was a big deal for Linton and a great number of Miner fans made the trip.  I recall there was a light rain throughout the game.  Kelly's Riley team defeated the Miners 13 - 6.  Along with the loss, Linton's all- state running back (he was called a halfback in those days) suffered a broken leg, ending his senior season. So, Spike Kelly's record was 10 - 3 against the Linton Miners. 

Edited by kingtut
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On 5/16/2022 at 9:04 PM, kingtut said:

I was surprised and pleased to see the fine biography of Coach Spike Kelly.  I suppose I am the only GID poster to have attended games when Kelly was one of the coaches.  Being a lifetime Linton Miner fan, I experienced the difficulty of my team playing against the Sullivan Golden Arrows when Spike Kelly was there.  Our series with the Arrows began in 1904 and Linton dominated the early years winning 15 of the first 19 games.  As the article states, Coach Kelly came to Sullivan from Clinton in 1931, which BTW is my birth year.  Clinton was also a Linton opponent in those early years.  Linton defeated Sullivan and Coach Kelly in his first three years, the last being 27 - 0 in 1933 when, in the undefeated Wabash Valley Champion Miners only allowed 6 points all season.  However, the tide turned in 1934 and Linton never defeated Sullivan again until 1945 when in the annual Armistice Day game, The undefeated Miners won 22-0 at Sullivan.  That was after Spike had gone to South Bend Riley.  I fondly remember that game as a HS freshman.  The following year, the Miners opened the season against Kelly's No 1 ranked South Bend Riley team at South Bend.  That was quite a trip from Southwestern Indiana to South Bend in those days.  I went to the game as a member of the LHS band and along with the team, stayed overnight at South Bend.  The game was a big deal for Linton and a great number of Miner fans made the trip.  I recall there was a light rain throughout the game.  Kelly's Riley team defeated the Miners 13 - 6.  Along with the loss, Linton's all- state running back (he was called a halfback in those days) suffered a broken leg, ending his senior season. So, Spike Kelly's record was 10 - 3 against the Linton Miners. 

Thank you for sharing this! Very cool insight and great we have a link to Coach Kelly. 

Two questions: any idea why they called him Spike and how long did that trip from Linton to South Bend take? 😊

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4 hours ago, Rudy said:

Thank you for sharing this! Very cool insight and great we have a link to Coach Kelly. 

Two questions: any idea why they called him Spike and how long did that trip from Linton to South Bend take? 😊

Yes. That is incredibly cool. Thanks for the comment @kingtut!!!

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On 5/18/2022 at 8:58 AM, Rudy said:

Thank you for sharing this! Very cool insight and great we have a link to Coach Kelly. 

Two questions: any idea why they called him Spike and how long did that trip from Linton to South Bend take? 😊

No, I really don't know how Kelly got the nickname "Spike" and really don't remember how long it took for us to travel the 234 miles to South Bend from Linton but I do remember the difficulty we had getting home.  Our bus carrying the band members broke down in Plymouth, Indiana, not far from SB.  We had to spend the day in Plymouth while the bus was being repaired.  We finally got home late that evening.  As a band member. I recall we spent a few Saturdays during the summer selling "Band Tags" for 50 cents each downtown in Linton to raise enough money for us to make the trip and stay overnight in a South Bend hotel.  That trip and the 1946 football game was a memorable highlight of my time at LHS.

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