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Mr. Thomas Wayne Kelly
12557 Wagon Trail
Goldvein, Va 22720
|Tom's Living Memorial for the Coach Russ Faulkinberry Tribute is followed by biographical information he provided in 2012. His LM was submitted on 7/25/2017 on posted by Dr. Ed Dugas that day.
Russ Faulkinberry’s Living Memorial, Tom Kelly – Football 1961-64
My name is Tom Kelly, and I spent 26 years in the Marine Corps, retiring as a Colonel.
I came to USL in January 1961, after being a “Walk-On” on the 1960 LSU Freshman Team where I was the 2nd Team QB most of the season.
I was signed by Coach “Red” Hoggatt and Coach Bob Patterson, but by the time that I arrived on campus in January ,we had a new coaching staff. Coach Faulkinberry arrived at the same time from the University of Nebraska where he had been the line coach.
He set the tone for the players and new coaching staff when a few of the 85 players who showed up for first spring training meeting were late. They quickly learned about running the steps at old McNaspy Stadium.
Most people who know me are aware that my official Marine Corps training started during the summer of 1962, during my 6 weeks of Platoon Leaders Class training at Quantico, Virginia, but I truly believe that my preparation for this Marine Corps training was started by an old Navy Man, Coach Russ Faulkinberry.
I have heard many stories about the Texas A&M boys at Junction, Texas under “Bear” Bryant, but I truly believe that the 28 USL players out of the original 85 who started the 1961 Spring Training went through a similar test.
I must say that Coach Faukinberry and his staff pushed us to see if we were physically and mentally tough enough to play for his football team.
Unfortunately, we lost a lot of good football players that first Spring, which partially resulted in losing seasons his first 3 years at USL. And unfortunately, many of these 28 were like myself (180 pounds or less) and not all that fast for the position that we were asked to play, which was linebacker in my case.
But, as Coach Faulkinberry said at the 2005 Faulkinberry Football Reunion, when he had players from the 1961-1963 Football Players stand up, “these players standing up did not win many games at USL but they set the “Bedrock” for the winning teams after that.”
Also at that 2005 Reunion in Coach Faulkinberry’s honor, it was my privilege to speak for 1961-63 teams, and I mentioned a couple of stories that I remembered from my three years at USL.
The first one was about one of the lineman, Lanny Falgout, who broke his nose during practice one day and ran to the sidelines to tell Coach Faulkenberry. After Coach heard Lanny say his nose was broken, he said to push it back in place and get back in there.
The other story that I mentioned at the reunion was that I had lost one of my hard contact lens during a game my junior year. I had been hit in the face during a game and I went to the sidelines to ask Coach Faulkinberry to see if he could see it in my eye socket as I knew that he wore contacts also.
I had lost my left contact lens, which couldn’t be found, and since he realized I had another one for the next game, he felt there was nothing to worry about.
Four years later, I was a Marine Corps Tank Platoon Commander in Chu Lai, South Vietnam, where I developed a lump above my left eye in the eye socket. The Navy Doctor thought it might be a tumor and directed that I be examined at the Navy Hospital in DaNang. That doctor referred me to an Air Force doctor at the Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines, who further directed me to a Navy doctor at the Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan, where I was examined by a doctor who turned out to be from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which was 10 miles from my hometown.
By the time that he saw me, the tumor turned out to be the hard contact lens which I had lost four years before. Apparently when I was hit it the face during the game, the force of the blow forced the lens into the fatty tissue above the eye and it stayed there until it became infected when I was in Vietnam.
As I mentioned above, we lost a lot of good players that first Spring, but I truly believe the opposing team always knew that they had played a game against a tough and well-prepared team.
A perfect example of this was my last football game at USL when we played against the undefeated McNeese team about five days after President Kennedy was assassinated in November, 1963.
McNeese was supposed to beat us by 40 points, but beat us 14-7 on a fluke tipped ball in the end zone in the 4th Quarter. I spoke to one of the McNeese coaches several weeks later, and he told me that they had been lucky to beat us as at all, because we had out-played and out-hit them.
There is no doubt in my mind that my 26 years in the Marine Corps and my life after this career was greatly influenced by my three years playing for Coach.
The Marines take pride in building men; they teach that physical toughness is as much a state of mind as anything else. But before the Marines got their chance at teaching me that, Russ Faulkinberry taught all of his USL players that mental and physical toughness was just a minimum requirement to play for him, and that quitting when the situation got tough was not an option.
He prepared us to play football, and he prepared us for life.
* * * * *
Name Thomas (Tom) Wayne Kelly
High School Denham Springs, La;
In 60 I was a walk on quarterback on the LSU Freshman Team and Coach Hoggart signed me up to play at USL at the end of my Freshman season;
Played at UL for the 61, 62, and 63 football seasons;
Graduated from UL in 1964;
Military Service 26 years - from 1964-1989;
Branch United States Marine Corps;
Rank Colonel (Retired);
USL Sport Football Seasons (60-63);
3 years letterman;
starting linebacker 2 of these years at 182#
|Football:|| 1961, 1962, 1963|
|Military Veteran:|| 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989|
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