Coach Kelley served as head boys’ basketball coach at Pius X from 1968 to 1980, advancing to the state tournament five times and winning the 1974 state championship en route to a 123-120 record.
During this time he also served as head baseball coach, earning a state championship bid in 1974. He was also an assistant coach on four state championship football teams. Kelley took over as head girls’ basketball coach in 1985 and compiled an astounding 145-19 record, reaching five consecutive state championship games and earning back-to-back state championships in 1991 and 1992.
Kelley went to a one room school house until high school when he graduated from Inman in 1955. He attended Norfolk Junior College on a basketball scholarship in the 1950s before graduating with a degree in Education from Wayne State College. He made stops in Ohiowa and Norfolk, teaching social studies and coaching football, basketball, volleyball, and track before beginning a 35 year career at Pius X.
He earned multiple statewide coaching awards and was inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. Kelley was instrumental in advancing high school basketball in Nebraska through the development of a Lincoln youth basketball camp originally held at Pius X and the development of the state’s first all-star game. He also taught social studies for 45 years before retiring in 2005. The Governor’s Commission on Education recognized Kelley as the High School Teacher of the Year in 1997.
Don and his wife Mary raised five children who all graduated from Pius X. He has 19 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Steph Schug – Class of 1992: “I owe so very much to Mr. Kelley. The man that scared the living daylights out of me as a sophomore went on to become one of my greatest heroes. I find myself reciting the same things that Mr. Kelley said to us. I only want my players to have the same experience I did. A good coach will stick with a player for a lifetime, and that is exactly what Mr. Kelley did for me.”