Little League® International remembers former Little League Baseball® World Series Manager, Richard “Rick” Kelley, who guided Bowling Green (Ky.) East Little League to three Great Lakes Region championships. He was 68.
In 2015, 2016, and 2019, Mr. Kelley managed Bowling Green East Little League to appearances in the Little League Baseball World Series, played annually in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, accumulating an overall record of 5-6. He began his 43 years of volunteer service to the Little League in 1979, as a coach with the Mets in the Bowling Green East Little League.
A native of Bowling Green, Mr. Kelley was a 1972 graduate of Bowling Green High school and earned a bachelor’s from Western Kentucky University. He was a local entrepreneur who co-founded Mariah’s restaurant and owned the Buckhead Café and Buckhead Square in Bowling Green.
Mr. Kelley was a past winner of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce Small Businessperson of the Year award and participated in organizing many of the region’s philanthropic endeavors, including the annual Bowling Green 10K race.
He served as chairperson of the Play Ball! ’05 committee formed to bring professional minor league baseball to Bowling Green. He was also a driving force behind creation of the downtown Tax Increment Financing district that led to the development of the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center and Bowling Green Ballpark, the eventual home of the Bowling Green Hot Rods, South Atlantic League affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Mr. Kelley is survived by his wife of 39 years, Tori; sons, Chase, Collin, and Carson; daughter, Caitlin; mother, Mary Lee; seven grandchildren; and several cousins, nieces, and nephews. He was predeceased by his father, Tom.