Don C. Kelley was born to William and Willametta (Parks) Kelley Sept. 10, 1937, in Inman, Neb., on a family farm that had been homesteaded by his great-grandfather. He is the oldest of four children. Don attended country school for the first eight years of his education, followed by high school in Inman, and graduated in 1955. During school he participated in basketball, track, baseball, band and drama.
Afterward he attended Norfolk Junior College for two years where he studied education and played basketball. During the summertime he worked in the hay fields of Holt County and played baseball on local teams. He was a left-handed pitcher and played for a variety of towns in northeast Nebraska. Don went to Greeley Colo. with the hopes of getting a baseball scholarship to play for the University of Northern Colo., but he could not afford to live there as long as he would have needed to, so he returned to Nebraska and attended Wayne State College in Wayne.
Upon graduating from Wayne State College he began his first teaching job in Ohiowa, Neb. There he taught social studies and coached six-man football, boys’ basketball, volleyball and track. After two years in Ohiowa he moved to Norfolk, Neb. to work for Purina Feeds. After a year in Norfolk he was asked to teach and coach at Norfolk Burns High School, where he taught social studies and coached football, boys’ basketball and track for six years.
Don moved to Lincoln in 1968 where he taught and coached at Pius X for 35 years. He was the sophomore football coach from 1968-1969 and the varsity defensive coach in 1970. He helped Vince Aldrich coaching football until 1976, when the team won the first official state football championship in class B. He coached reserves between 1977 and 1980. Don was also the assistant baseball coach from l967-1969 and was the head coach from l970-l975. During that time he coached a class B state runner-up team. He stepped down from coaching basketball and football in l980.
While at Pius X, Don received awards for his 20, 25 and 35 years of outstanding service. In 1975 he was selected by the Nebraska Coaches Association to coach the boys All-Star High School Basketball Game. In 1980 he received an award from KFOR for unselfish service to the community. In 1990-91 he received the Nebraska Girls’ Coaches Association Coach of the Year. In 1990 he received recognition from the Nebraska Coaches Association for 25 years of service to Nebraska high school athletic programs. In 1990 he received Nebraska High School Coach of the Year from the Omaha World Herald and in 1990-91 he received the Ralph Beechner Coach of the Year award from KFOR. In 2007 he was inducted into the Nebraska Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Don and his wife, Mary, raised five children, sending them all through St. John’s grade school and Pius X High School.