The purpose of today’s post is to wish a very Happy Birthday to Michigan Man Kelly Keough. According to the 1980 Michigan Football Media Guide, Kelly Keough was born on this day in Gary, Indiana. He grew up in Merrillville, Indiana and became an outstanding athlete at Merrillville High School. According to the 1980 Michigan Football Media Guide, Kelly captained his last high school team and helped lead them to the Indiana AAA State Football Championship. He was an All-State defensive lineman and a semifinalist in the Indian high school wrestling championships in 1977. Yes, he was someone who a lot of schools wanted, but he chose to continue his football and his education at Michigan.
(Note – Michigan Man Kelly Keough (#57) is shown above with the 1980 Big Ten Champion Football team. He is seated in the second row – seventh man from the right. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.)
Kelly Keough arrived in Ann Arbor in 1977. He didn’t earn any playing time, or letters, in his first three years at Michigan. Unfortunately, he missed spring drills in 1979 and that set him back on the depth chart. However, he did work his way back to the second unit in 1980. Unfortunately, he was playing behind All-Conference defensive tackle Mike Trgovac and some other guys. He did earn his first letter in 1980 and earned the right to be called on of Bo’s “Michigan Men.” Even though he didn’t play as much as he would have like, Kelly Keough kept working hard on the field and in the classroom.
Michigan Man Kelly Keough finished his career on a high note. He played on three Big Ten Championship teams and Bo’s first bowl winner in the 1981 Rose Bowl. The Wolverines posted a record of 38 wins, 10 losses and 0 ties during the “Keough Years” at Michigan. They were even better at 28-4-0 in the Big Ten.
Yes, Kelly Keough’s “timing” wasn’t that great. His Michigan career had some “ups” and “downs.” However, his career ended on a high note. Kelly Keough left Ann Arbor as a champion along with a letter, and an “M Ring.” It wasn’t easy, but it happened just like Bo promised!
Please take a moment to appreciate the contributions of Kelly Keough to the great history of Michigan Football. Kelly is one more reason that the University of Michigan is the winningest program in the history of college football. I hope Michigan Man Kelly Keough has a very happy birthday on his special day! Go Blue!
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