Rohe Track Era All About Us!

Compiled by: Bob Barber

This is a story about Larry Kelly:

Larry Kelly

This is a story about Larry Kelly. Our UT cross-country team was very strong in 1965 placing 3rd at the NCAA Championships, with almost all members being seniors. Our 1966 team was not real strong and if ever there was a chance for another SEC team to beat us out, it was 1966. Larry was a great half-miler and quarter miler. He and the other 880 runners ran XC for conditioning.

Coach Rohe may dispute this, but Larry probably could have gotten out of running in the SEC XC meet---heavens, he was our anchor on the mile relay, a 47 flat quarter miler! A week before the meet I begged Larry to run, stressing the importance of our fifth man in the scoring. I told Larry I didn't want to be the first UT captain to lose an SEC meet for Rohe. All week I reinforced his importance as our fifth man.

So at the finish of the race, I'm in the chute at fourth place (not a good start to the scoring), and I immediately look back and see Tomasello at about tenth place. I holler back to Mike, do you see Larry coming toward the finish? Again, figuring he would be our fifth guy and his finish would be so important.

Just then, I hear this very faint voice gasp: “I'm right here Bobby”. I turn around and here's Kelly, our anchor on the mile-relay, right behind me in the chute in sixth place in the SEC XC meet!! Talk about “having your back”, it was unbelievable. Spectators say Larry passed about 6-8 runners in the last quarter mile of the race. We won that 1966 SEC Championship to keep the streak alive, and Larry, Mike and I will be friends till we're in our graves.