Abington's own football titan, Jim Kelliher, is hanging up his playbook after a legendary 50-year career as he strides the sidelines one last time on Thanksgiving Day. Coach Kelliher, who has defined Abington High School football, carving out an unmatched legacy in Massachusetts history, is stepping away with a record that's nothing short of astonishing: more than 500 games coached, over 300 wins, and five state championship rings to his name—and let's not forget his role as a mentor and father figure to many as reported by the CBS News.
"I just consider myself the luckiest guy in the world. I really, truly do," Kelliher reflected according to CBS Boston. True to his humble nature, Kelliher's legacy extends beyond the field. "He always told his players 'First and foremost be a gentleman,'" recalled defensive coordinator Jim Daly in a nostalgic nod to the coaching giant. Ed Reilly, now an associate head coach and former player under Kelliher, summed it up neatly: "He's like a second father to me."
Bob Bancroft, a fellow coach and Massachusetts Football Coaches Hall of Fame inductee, recounted Kelliher's formative years. "His father owned an oil company and asphalt company... he was out working for his dad with the asphalt company. He always had a real great work ethic," Bancroft told Abington News. Indeed, that work ethic translated onto the gridiron, shaping a program and a community for five decades.
And it wasn't just his work ethic that set Kelliher apart; his commitment to character was paramount. "The way he carries himself on a daily basis and he's a true gentleman," Ed Reilly highlighted, painting a picture of Kelliher's lasting impact on the young men of Abington. Kelliher's unique touch also extended to quieter moments, his pride visibly silent yet powerful as he stood back at National Honor Society inductions watching 'his kids'.
A football program can be judged by wins and losses, but Kelliher's Abington tenure will be forever measured by the lives he's shaped. Kevin Whalen, a former player and longtime announcer, emphasized Kelliher's truthful approach. "Kell is a straight-forward guy and the kids appreciate that honesty," he said as per Abington News.