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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Vale Tom Kelly

Vale Tom Kelly

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1 Vale Tom Kelly on Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:10 pm

SANCHEZ


Well known athletics coach Tom Kelly passed away on the weekend aged 82. He was heavily involved at the Box Hill Athletic Club, Doncaster Little Athletics Centre and Xavier College.



Last edited by SANCHEZ on Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:11 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo error)

2 Re: Vale Tom Kelly on Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:11 pm

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SANCHEZ wrote:Well known athletics coach Tom Kelly passed away on the weekend aged 82. He was heavily involved at the Box Hill Athletic Club, Doncaster Little Athletics Centre and Xavier College.



Very sad news .

In the Herald Sun today, page 15. Mr Kelly did from injuries sustained when he was struck by a car on Saturday night. Wasn't found until Sunday morning. Sounds like it could have been a hit and run.  

He was still actively coaching. Condolescence to the family, friends and his athletic squad.

3 Re: Vale Tom Kelly on Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:11 pm

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http://www.runnerstribe.com/article/22369

Tom Kelly: A Column

By Len Johnson
Runnerstribe.com
September 24, 2013,


Anywhere an athletics competition was on – from a local schools meeting to the Olympic Games - Tom Kelly was liable to bob up.

Two years ago, the world cross-country was held in Punta Umbria, a Spanish resort on the Andalusian coast. The main township was a charming fishing village; the world cross-country competitors and extended family were housed in the otherwise-empty summer resort hotels.

I’m walking along the deserted beachfront road when who else should come from the other direction than Tommy. With a much-younger Irish relative in tow (who, if he was bemused at the pace his 80-year-old companion was setting, had the good grace not to show it), Tommy was looking for the Australian team hotel first, accommodation for the weekend second.

Tommy had an athlete in the team, you see. Tommy pretty well always had an athlete in the team. This time it was David McNeill. And if a Tom Kelly athlete was competing somewhere even vaguely within Tommy’s reach, he would most likely be there. Whether it was Olympic Boulevard in Sydney, or the coast road at the back of Punta Umbria, you would see him.

Last Saturday night, someone apparently didn’t see Tom Kelly. Crossing a road in Mt Evelyn, in Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs, Kelly was struck and killed by a car. His body was found at 7:30am on a Sunday morning, a time many of the countless athletes he coached over the years, would have been heading out for a long run.

It is still unclear exactly what happened. What remains sadly all too clear is that, just a few weeks after the sudden death of one prominent athletics coach in Pam Turney, Victorian and Australian athletics has lost another in Tom Kelly.

A strong and determined athlete, the Irish-born Kelly was one of the top Victorian distance runners of his day. He gravitated to the longer distances and was one of the first Australians to win an international marathon when he came home first in the Seoul-Inchon race in 1961. It wasn’t a fast run – two hours 40 minutes 25 seconds – but Kelly defeated a strong field in hot, gruelling conditions. The temperature peaked at 85deg.F (30deg.C).

In a nice piece of symmetry, one of Kelly’s proudest coaching achievements (of many) would be to coach Brad Camp to a place in the Seoul 1988 Olympic team in the marathon.

It was as a coach that Kelly made his mark. Always with a solid club base, first at Box Hill, for whom he ran, then at Doncaster, Kelly produced a long line of athletes in a wide variety of events. Camp was one of many senior athletes he coached to great success, but he was unmatched in developing junior talent.

Nick Wall wrote in a tribute on the Athletics Victoria web-site (http://www.athsvic.org.au/news/detail/vale-tom-kelly) that Kelly had an “incredible feel for coaching”. While not neglecting the technical aspects, Kelly’s passion and enthusiasm sparked an instant communication with many of his athletes.

It would be a difficult task to catalogue all the athletes Tom Kelly coached at Doncaster. Camp was a stand-out, as were other Olympians in Paul Cleary and Natalie Harvey. Melbourne Commonwealth Games 800 metres representative Libby Allen, world championships sprinter David Baxter, Olympic relay representative Elly Hutton and 400 metres hurdler Sonia Brito were others Kelly mentored or influenced.

The Carney sisters, Emma and Clare – Australian representatives as athletes, world champions as triathletes – were not coached by Kelly, but as Doncaster athletes often worked in with his group.

Also coaching at Doncaster at the same time was John Hirst. The two mined different veins of talent, Hirst adding his links with professional running circuit (his father was legendary ‘pro coach Monty Hirst) to Kelly’s knack at bringing juniors through.

This pairing produced runners of the talent of Dean Paulin, Jason Agosta, Rod De Highden, Sean Quilty and Jason Rock (to add to those named above) as Doncaster challenged traditional winter powers Glenhuntly, Steve Moneghetti’s Ballarat YCW and Box Hill for distance supremacy.

Brad Camp was one of the first Kelly athletes of whom I was aware. Aggressive and determined (somewhat in the Kelly mould, I’d reckon), Camp ran 2:10:11 to win an Australian title in the 1989 Gold Coast marathon. He never fulfilled that talent in the two championship marathons he ran (the 1988 Seoul Olympics and 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games), but he had some memorable battles with Steve Moneghetti on the road – ‘Mona’ won one Victorian 15k title by three seconds, 43:59 to 44:02, I recall - and upstaged Tohihiko Seko on the final leg of a Chiba Ekiden relay in the great Japanese marathoner’s farewell race.

David McNeill was another obvious beneficiary of the Kelly passion for the sport, though in the instance I recall it did not pay off.

McNeill, Liam Adams and Toby Rayner were left out of a junior world cross-country team in a circular bit of selection logic which somehow said all were good enough, but as the object was to send a team, and four constituted a team, none would go.

Understandably, Tommy was hot under the collar about this and hell-bent on redressing the injustice.

He didn’t win that battle, but as McNeill has gone on to make Commonwealth, world championships and Olympic teams, Adams to represent with distinction at senior world cross-country and Rayner to win Victorian senior titles and miss a world cross-country team by one place, you would have to say he won the war.

Tom Kelly’s passion for athletics, and life in general, will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

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4 Re: Vale Tom Kelly on Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:18 pm

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http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/east/hundreds-pack-st-dominic8217s-parish-church-in-camberwell-to-say-goodbye-to-doncaster-athletics-club-coach-tom-kelly/story-fngnvlxu-1226726635486

Hundreds pack St Dominic’s Parish Church in Camberwell to say goodbye to Doncaster Athletics Club coach Tom Kelly

By Shaun Campbell
Manningham Leader
September 25, 2013




HUNDREDS crowded into a Camberwell church yesterday to say goodbye to popular eastern suburbs athletics coach Tom Kelly.

The Doncaster Athletics Club coach was farewelled in an emotional service at St Dominic’s Parish Church.

Family, friends, athletes and students filled the Riversdale Rd church to send off the 82-year-old coach and teacher, who was killed in a traffic accident in Mt Evelyn on September 15.

Mr Kelly’s daughter, Siobhan Long, and son, Brendan, spoke of a funny and attentive father who was always willing to help others.

Brendan said his father was a “gregarious soul” who found it easy to make friends because of his warm nature.

He spoke of a man who had a “terrific sense of humour and a larrikin nature”.

Brendan said his father — an outstanding athlete — built his stamina through chasing rabbits and foxes while growing up on a small farm in Mullinahone, Ireland.

He described his father as a “fierce competitor” who was an all-Ireland junior hurling champion and was the first Australian to win an international marathon — in Seoul, South Korea, in 1961.

Family friend Brendan Layh said he met Mr Kelly soon after the history-making marathon win.

“Everyone was in awe of this strange Irishman who had just returned from Korea,” Mr Layh said.

“A couple of weeks later he invited me to join in with his 6am training sessions, which we did for many years — rain, hail or shine.”

Mr Layh said his friend — who he taught with at Box Hill’s St Leo College for many years — left a legacy of giving without accepting reward and helping those who were willing to improve.

“Tom’s philosophy was simple — people will do very little unless they were challenged,” he said.

“He helped us all to discover who we are and, more importantly, what we could be.”

Athletics Victoria president Ian Jones said he had known Mr Kelly since the two were members at Box Hill Athletic Club more than 50 years ago.

“(Tom) was of small stature but he was a giant in the community,” Mr Jones said.

“We owe so much to this man; we will miss him, but we will never forget him.”

Doncaster Athletics Club president Adrian Patti said the man some likened to the Pied Piper — “he would blow his whistle in the morning and we would all come” — would be sorely missed.

“Tom, you are our coach, mentor and mate; we loved you like a father,” Mr Patti said.

Mr Kelly was farewelled with a guard of honour — consisting of former students from schools including Xavier and Whitefriars Catholic Boys colleges and Doncaster Athletics Club — outside the church.

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