TUCSON, Ariz. — One among Harmony’s winningest coaches at school historical past virtually left the varsity lower than 5 years into his teaching profession.
Dale Kelly was coming off main the boys gymnastics program to the 1964 state championship when his spouse, Ramona, began having some well being points. Particularly, Ramona was having an issue along with her lungs that was affecting her respiration. The couple debated transferring to someplace with a greater local weather to assist with Ramona’s points.
It reached the purpose the place Dale interviewed for a job to educate gymnastics at a highschool in Phoenix, Az. There was a critical dialogue of the Kellys transferring to the hotter space, however finally, they stayed.
“I had all these children again and so they had received the state championship, so lastly I made a decision I simply couldn’t go,” Dale stated.
On reflection, it ended up being a career-defining transfer.
Kelly would keep at Harmony via 1985, teaching gymnastics, boys cross nation and boys observe. He received two extra gymnastics state championships in 1965 and 1966 and led the cross nation and observe groups to previously-unseen success as effectively. He was a part of the inaugural Harmony Corridor of Fame class in 1988 and the annual Kelly Relays observe occasion at Harmony is known as after him.
It’s in gymnastics, although, the place he discovered his most workforce success.
FIRST TIME COACHING
Kelly solely earned 5 ‘C’s’ throughout his time as a pupil at Purdue College.
One among them was in a gymnastics class the varsity provided.
Previous to teaching Harmony, this was the one gymnastics expertise Kelly had. When the younger program wanted a coach for the 1961-62 season, although, Kelly took the job.
“The man that had been there the yr earlier than at Harmony had gotten the children and acquired some tools,” Kelly stated. “I used to be teaching nothing else on the time and so they requested me if I’d be all for maintaining it going, and naturally we did.”
In his first full season as coach, the Minutemen completed second on the state finals. Senior Invoice Snook received the person excessive bar championship, regardless of the varsity not having a excessive bar to observe on.
“He went to the YMCA in Elkhart for practices,” Kelly stated.
Snook was instrumental in getting this system off and working. He had been a gymnast in highschool in California earlier than transferring to Elkhart earlier than his senior yr.
“He had some strikes and we started to study what they have been referred to as by listening and watching him,” stated Kelly of Snook. “The youngsters have been keen and so they picked up stuff quick.”
Harmony lastly broke via for a state championship within the 1963-64 season, edging Clarksville to win the varsity’s first state title.
“It was type of unbelievable in a manner, however we had achieved effectively these first two years with the competitors the way in which it was,” Kelly stated. “I believed moving into that if we might get previous Clarksville, we had a great probability of successful it. It wasn’t an enormous shock, nevertheless it was a great shock.”
The Minutemen repeated as state champions in 1965 and 1966, then completed state runner-up from 1967-69. Their seven first-or-second-place finishes on the state meet have been essentially the most of any program within the decade.
“The successful and dropping are at all times vital, particularly for the children,” Kelly stated. “It offers a terrific feeling and it offers the varsity just a little increase. We bought recognized all through the state I believe — individuals had by no means heard of Harmony earlier than in different components of the state most likely and doubtless realized we have been in existence.”
Kelly coached the boys gymnastics program till 1980, however these 1960s groups present essentially the most vivid recollections for the longtime coach.
“Ron Thiele and Fred Myers used to have competitions,” Kelly stated. “Fred was just a little extra proficient than Ron, however they used to start out on the again wall of the gymnasium, doing again handsprings, and they might go proper out of the fitness center, throughout the corridor and thru the cafeteria doing again handsprings. It was issues like that that basically made them aggressive.”
On street journeys, Kelly needed to be extra of a workforce chaperone than a coach.
“We have been in Chicago, and we’re close to the Chicago River. We’re strolling down the road, and I seemed round and there’s about 4 of them doing handstands on the rail above the river,” Kelly stated. “I needed to watch them after we’d go into eating places — they’d be doing handstands on the barstools and issues like that.”
Dale and Ramona at the moment reside in Tucson, Az. Dale simply turned 90 years outdated just lately and continues to be going robust.
Whereas the workforce’s success was nice, Kelly cares extra in regards to the recollections made along with his athletes throughout his teaching days.
“We had quite a lot of enjoyable; they have been a great group of children,” Kelly stated.