From the court, to the classroom
By DAN HAWTHORNE
Harold Kelly was offered a $400 pay raise in 1949 to take a job in Yazoo City just a year out of college with no intentions of staying. Years later he married his wife and he’s been here ever since.
Before becoming one of the city’s most influential educational leaders for nearly 40 years, Kelly was doing his best to keep Kentucky grounded on the hardwood for three years at Ole Miss.
“I played before the sidewalks and the dunk,” Kelly said as he explained the dominance of the Wildcats under the leadership of Adolph Rupp.
“It wasn’t a question of who was going to win first, it was who was going to take second,” he said.
Kentucky won over a dozen Southeastern Conference championships under Rupp, and three straight while Kelly was a Rebel.
His college basketball career jump started at Jones Community College in 1943, where in his only season, Kelly won the state championship under legendary coach B.L. “Country” Graham who was Mississippi’s first basketball All-American in 1938.
Kelly would also be named the MVP of the tournament, but the celebrations were short lived after he was called to serve his country for three years overseas.