LOS ANGELES–Tom Kelly, the broadcast voice of USC football and men’s basketball for five decades, died Monday (June 27) of cancer in Encino. He was 88.
Kelly first called play-by-play of USC football and men’s basketball games in 1961 and he was mikeside on Trojan games almost yearly until 2003. He did so on radio from 1961 to 1965 and 1973 to 1988, then on TV from 1989 until 2003. He described the action of five USC national championship football teams, five Heisman Trophy winners and 92 first team All-American footballers.
He also hosted the USC Sports Magazine Show on FOX Sports Net West 2 and was the executive producer/host/narrator of the Trojan Video Gold series, highlighting the history of USC football. In 2001, he was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame.
After getting injured while playing football at Northland College in Ashland, Wis., the Minneapolis native helped with his college’s radio broadcasts. His broadcasting career continued in Duluth, Minn., Des Moines, Ia., and then Peoria, Ill., before coming to Los Angeles to work at KNX-AM on the recommendation of Jack Buck.
A 2005 inductee into the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame, Kelly was one of Southern California’s most versatile and accomplished announcers. He did play-by-play for just about every sport imaginable–from football, basketball, baseball, track and boxing to billiards, swimming and golf. He won numerous awards, including four Golden Mikes, two AP and UPI California Sportscaster of the Year trophies, and an Emmy. He was inducted into the Golden State Boxers Hall of Fame in 2003.
In addition to calling USC games, he was a sportscaster for KNX-AM and KCBS-TV, sports director for KTTV-TV (from 1966 to 1972), did play-by-play for the San Diego Chargers, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and the USFL’s Los Angeles Express, and also worked for CBS Radio and ESPN. He served as president of the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Association in 1973-74.
An avid golfer, he was able to combine his passion with his work during the final years of his broadcasting career by hosting the popular “Golf The West” travelogue on FOX Sports Net West.
Kelly is survived by his wife Danusia, along with four children, Kathleen Kelly Borisoff, Colleen Kelly, Kevin Kelly and Christopher Kelly, a stepson, Patryk Jaskolski, and six grandchildren.
Services are pending.