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Kentucky football became family affair for Kelly cousins

JASON SHOOT / News Herald Writer GRACEVILLE — Anthony Kelly learned quickly he was among brothers in arms when he arrived to play football at the University of Kentucky. He was a little slow to pick up that he had a cousin in arms there, too. “So I get to UK’s campus, and I was recruited as an athlete but they immediately put me in as a defensive back,” Kelly said. “The leader at that time was Eric Kelly, one of the top corners in the nation. His last name was Kelly, he was from Florida, so he took me under his wing. Wherever we went he said, ‘This is my little cousin,’ and I’d tell everybody, ‘This is my big cousin.’ “We had no idea that was the reality.” An entire semester had passed before the two Kellys learned they were related, Kelly said. Their fathers were brothers, and it took a phone call from Anthony’s dad to bring it to light. “My dad called me one day and asked if I had fun playing with my cousin,” said Anthony Kelly, who grew up in Campbellton while Eric Kelly was attending Bay High School in Panama City. “I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ Basically Eric’s dad was my dad’s brother. It’s crazy. And Eric’s brother and I knew each other. It just never really dawned on us we were related. For me, the Kelly side of my family I always thought lived in Alabama and South Florida. It totally blew us away.” Kelly said the relationship between the two cousins changed immediately. “Absolutely,” he said. “From that point on we held each other accountable. … It was encouraging to know I had an [...]

By | May 19th, 2011|News|Comments Off on Kentucky football became family affair for Kelly cousins

Former UK Football Player Gives Back to Alma Mater

Raised in a small, rural town in Florida’s panhandle, Anthony “Champ” Kelly, Denver Broncos Assistant Director of Player Personnel and former University of Kentucky student athlete, says his childhood and home life were sometimes difficult.  However, he gives credit to his community for embracing and nurturing him throughout hard times. The love and support Kelly garnered from his community afforded him confidence and resiliency.  Ultimately, making him who he is today, and impelling him to volunteer throughout his time at UK and beyond.  Because of this, Kelly and his wife Stephanie, founded Heart Power, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting youth and their families who are in search of positive, encouraging influences in their lives. “The most impactful community event of my life was volunteering at Kentucky Children’s Hospital during ‘Breakfast with Santa,’” said Kelly. “I was privileged to witness the amazing spirits of kids and babies who were very sick. These kids had smiles and ambitions that proved to me that it is possible to be victorious over adversity.” Now, more than ten years since his experience at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital, Kelly’s Heart Power wants to again contribute to the hospital through proceeds from the C.H.A.M.P. Camp.  The camp, Heart Power’s most important event, is a two-day, non-contact football camp for children ages 10-17.  The inaugural camp was held at Kelly’s high school in Graceville, Fla. in the summer of 2010. The staff and coaches worked with more than 120 campers to instill the core values of Character, Heart, Attitude, Motivation, and Pride through instruction of football fundamentals and speakers delivering messages on life skills and the importance of making good decisions.  Speakers and coaches consisted of a variety of local business [...]

By | May 10th, 2011|News|Comments Off on Former UK Football Player Gives Back to Alma Mater

Graceville hosts ‘C.H.A.M.P. Camp’

By: Dustin Kent Published: May 26, 2010 » 0 Comments | Post a Comment Former Graceville High School and University of Kentucky football star Anthony “Champ” Kelly will be conducting his first high school football camp July 8-9 at Graceville High School. The “C.H.A.M.P Camp” will be a two-day, non-contact camp for students ages 10 to 17 from Northwest Florida. The camp will stress football fundamentals, speed and agility, as well as focus on life skills and education. C.H.A.M.P. stands for “Character, Heart, Attitude, Motivation and Pride.” The 30-year-old Kelly, who now works as assistant director of pro personnel for the NFL’s Denver Broncos, said the camp’s mission is as much about the off-field lessons as the on-field ones. “The main thing is using football to get kids to listen to people talk about life skills, upcoming obstacles, and the importance of education,” Kelly said. “I’ve really been tremendously blessed to be raised by this community, and have opportunity to go get an education while playing football, play a little semi-pro ball, and now I’m living a dream as a scout in the NFL. “When I was at Graceville, I didn’t get to see professionals talk to kids, to see how they got to where they’re at. I never wanted to lose sight of that. I want to make sure kids have an example to look to.” After graduating from Graceville in 1998, Kelly moved on to play for the Kentucky Wildcats for four years, playing both cornerback and receiver. He then got his master’s degree while working for IBM for two years. But his fondness for football got him back in the sport. Kelly went to play for the Lexington Horsemen of the United Indoor [...]

By | May 26th, 2010|News|Comments Off on Graceville hosts ‘C.H.A.M.P. Camp’