Al Kelley, one of Kansas basketball's 1952 national champions and a former Olympic gold medalist, passed away Saturday at the age of 83.
Kelley died in Lawrence, his family confirmed to Kansas Athletics on Saturday night.
A three-year letter winner at KU while playing for legendary head coach Phog Allen from 1952-54, Kelley was a sophomore on the 1952 NCAA National Championship team and one of the truly great ambassadors of his era for many associated with the program today.
"Al Kelley is Kansas basketball," KU coach Bill Self said in a news release. "He had a great career. He was always a pleasure when he would come to the office or a practice and was a fixture at home games. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Kelley, the younger brother of former KU great Dean Kelley, who passed away in 1996, was an all-Big Seven Conference first-team selection during both his junior and senior seasons. In his three seasons at KU, Kelley won an NCAA title, three Big Seven Conference regular-season championships and two Big Seven Holiday Tournaments. He was KU's second-leading scorer as a junior (12.9 ppg) and followed that up by finishing as the team's third-leading scorer (12.4) during his senior season in which he served as team captain.
Kelley also was a member of the 1960 USA Men's Olympic team that was enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., in 2010. His gold medal resides in the Booth Family Hall of Athletics in Allen Fieldhouse.
Following his KU career, Kelley was chosen in the seventh round, 56th overall, in the 1954 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Hawks. Kelley chose instead to play for the AAU Caterpillars in Peoria, Illinois. In his first season with the Caterpillars in 1954, Kelley helped lead the team to the AAU national title and the 1954 World Basketball Championship in Brazil.
Originally from McCune, Kansas, Kelley and his wife Barbara, of Oskaloosa, Kansas, lived in Lawrence for 16 years after he retired from Caterpillar. He was inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.