Receiver / Defensive Back | Lettered 1947-50
Jim Kelly Sr. was one of the all time great Bearcats. His playing days were those halcyon days of the Sid Gillman era, and he was one of the primary beneficiaries of the wide open offense that Gilman employed in Clifton. Kelly was a Junior when Gilman came to the Queen City from West Point with the nascent germs of what would become the west coast offense incubating in his mind.
Kelly caught more passes for more TD's in his two years as the main weapon outside for the Bearcats than anyone had in the history of the program previously. In all 81 passes for 923 yards and 11 TD's. That would pass as a fair season today but those totals were immense for the era. Kelly graduated with record for catches, yards and TD's taht wouldn't be matched until the duo of Jim O'Brien and Tom Rosley came onto the scene in the late 60's with Greg Cook.
Kelly might be more foundly remembered for his time after playing for the Bearcats. He was a fixture on campus for 40 years as coach, administrator and fan. He was on the Football staff from 1960 until 1976 and coached the aforementioned Rosley and O'Brien who together rewrote all his records. Kelly passed away in 2009.