Andy Kelly is one of most legendary
names in the history of the Holy Cross track program, referred to
in his 1917 yearbook simply as “Champ”. It is also
written in the yearbook that he gained a lot of his speed
outrunning beat cops on the streets of New York as a kid.
Kelly attended Holy Cross from 1914-1917 and was a member of the track and field teams,serving as captain during the 1916-1917 season. During his distinguished collegiate career, he demonstrated his world-class speed at various distances ranging from 60-to-300-yards as well as being an integral part of many relay team victories. This all occurred at a time when races were timed in fifths of a second and outdoor races were run on cinder tracks. Still to this day, Kelly holds the Holy Cross record for the 300-yard dash indoors with a time of 31.4 seconds. Unfortunately for Kelly and the rest of the world, the 1916 Berlin Olympics were canceled due to World War I. If it was not for the war, he would have been considered as a serious contender for medals in both the 100 and 220-yard dashes.
The lack of modern equipment didn’t slow him down, however. He ran the 100 yard dash in 9.8 seconds. He became the New England Champion in the 100 at 9.8 and the 220 yard champ at 21.4. The relay team he anchored shattered the world record with a 2:28.4 in the 1,280 yard run at the BAA relays.
Kelly competed in
the "Inter-Allied Games" in Paris in 1919, which were held at
the end of World War I and were open only to allied military
personnel (current or former) who fought during the War. Kelly
finished second to Charlie Paddock, who would go on to win the 100
yard dash in the 1920 Olympics. In the middle of the race, Kelly
had the lead but pulled a muscle, allowing Paddock to overtake him
and finish first.
On January 21, 1956 his athletic accomplishments were recognized with his induction into the Holy Cross Athletic Hall of Fame. This was the initial class inducted into the Hall. Kelly was joined by Louis Sockalexis `97, John Barry `10, William Turnesa `38, William Osmanski `39, and Robert Cousy `50.