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Kelley Named USBWA’s ‘Most Courageous’ Of 2013

Heights Editor

Published: Monday, February 25, 2013

Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 00:02

In the 35-year history of the United States Basketball Writers Association’s “Most Courageous” Award, players and coaches have exclusively been granted the honor.

Legendary figures such as Steve Kerr, who overcame the assassination of his father while in college, Jim Valvano, who dealt with bone cancer and championed cancer research among the sports community, and Pat Summit, the all-time wins leader in women’s college basketball who was diagnosed with dementia, are among the award’s most notable recipients.

That changed on Thursday when Dick Kelley, an assistant athletic director and sports information director for Boston College, received the 2013 award, along with Beckie Francis, the women’s basketball coach at Oakland University. The award annually recognizes a player, coach, official, or administrator who has demonstrated extraordinary courage, reflecting honor on the sport of amateur basketball.

Kelley graduated from BC in 1987 and has worked for the athletic department since 1991. He was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2011, but has remained an integral part of BC athletics despite the disease’s strain on his movement and speech. He also received the first BC Varsity Club Medal last November.

“I am overwhelmed and very grateful for this amazing honor,” Kelley wrote in a statement to the USBWA. “I have never sought recognition, but rather did what I did because I loved my job and everyone I had the privilege of working with.”
While primarily serving as the sports information director for men’s basketball, Kelley has also been the secondary media relations contact for hockey and soccer.

“I know DK doesn’t like recognition for all the things he has done for BC, particularly for the basketball team,” head men’s basketball coach Steve Donahue said on Twitter. “But an award that is given to someone in college athletics who has demonstrated extraordinary courage while facing adversity, could go to no better person.”
The award will be presented to Kelley when BC hosts Virginia on Mar. 3 at Conte Forum. On behalf of Kelley, the USBWA is making a $1,000 donation to Compassionate Care ALS in West Falmouth, Mass.

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