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Frank Kelley



Born Oct. 23, 1903 in Tyndall. 1923 Tyndall HS grad. 1927 SDSU grad. Kelley was a world record holder in track and one of the finest football players in the history of South Dakota State. In all, he earned eight letters in football, basketball and track at SDSU. Kelley, a 1927 SDSU grad, actually set two world records. The first came in February of 1925 at the North Central Conference meet in Omaha, where Kelley ran the 45-yard high hurdles in 5.8 seconds. Because there was no AAU official present, the record was never officially recognized. But two months later, at the Central AAU meet in St. Paul, Kelley entered the 50-yard high hurdles. This time, with a building full of AAU officials, his winning time of 6.3 seconds was officially recognized as a world record. Despite his track accomplishments, Kelley was perhaps better known as a football player. Kelley led the Jackrabbits to an unbeaten season in 1926 and he accounted for all of SDSU's points in North Central Conference play - by run, pass and kick from his halfback spot. He gained nationwide fame for his drop kicks. In games against St. Louis University and Hawaii, his drop kicks accounted for the winning points. He won the NCC 120-yard high hurdles in 1926 and '27 and the 220 lows in '25 and '27. After graduation, Kelley tried out with the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team but gave it up to play pro football. The 5-foot-10, 165-pounder played one season in the NFL, with Cleveland in 1927, scoring three touchdowns. Kelley owned a drug store in Pierre for many years. He also coached the Legion baseball team there about a dozen years, guiding Pierre to five state titles (1935-38 and '41). At Tyndall High, Kelley helped the Panthers to state track titles in 1922 and '23, an especially impressive feat considering it was a one-class state meet. In both years, Kelley was second in the 100 and 220 and he anchored Tyndall's 880-yard relay team to state records.






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