Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Roman Kelley
Like father, like son.

Well, it didn't quite start out that way for former Rocky Mount quarterback Roman Kelley.

Kelley, a 1997 RMHS graduate, played football for Ray Durham as a two-year starting QB for the Gryphons. After a career that made Kelley the eighth-leading signal caller in yardage (2,110) and the No. 4 QB on the touchdown passing list (27), he went into the business field after graduating from N.C. State.

He was headed in a different career direction than dad George, who spent many years on the Rocky Mount sidelines before becoming head coach of the Gryphons. The elder Kelley was Rocky Mount's head coach for 10 seasons.

But a request from a friend changed everything.

That friend asked him to come out and help volunteer coach the team at South Granville. That experience did the trick. The coaching bug finally bit him.

After going back to school to get certified to teach, Kelley joined the coaching staff at South Granville. He also later served as the athletic director there.

That led to an assistant position at Topsail. He then went on to South Brunswick as an assistant. Two seasons ago, then-SB coach Gordon Waters left for a job in South Carolina and Kelley was selected as his replacement.

This season, his squad is experiencing great success. In fact, they were undefeated (7-0) going to last Friday's game with also undefeated South Columbus at home.

But a weird thing happened late in the contest. With less than four minutes left on the clock after the Cougars narrowed their deficit to 34-21 with a touchdown, the power went out. RM football fans may remember a similar occurance a few years ago at Southern Nash.

Nothing could be done with the power and school officials continued the game Monday afternoon at South Brunswick. The Cougars were forced to start the resumption with an onside kick, but they failed to recover the ball. South Columbus went on to win 40-21.

But that aside, the Cougars, after a 5-5 campaign last season, are 7-1 and looking good to make it deep into the 3-A state playoffs.

"I put in the Pro-I on offense and the 5-0 on defense and it looks just like the ole' Gryphons," said the 31-year-old second-year head coach. "We are 7-1 right now averaging 40-plus points on offense and have a very stingy defense. I couldn't be more pleased with how things are going. Of course, we have a long way to go and three tough games left in the Waccamaw (Conference). But it has been a lot of fun!"

(A Gryphon Glimpse is a regular series of posts featuring former Rocky Mount High School athletes or coaches.)