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Floyd Kelly, 54, coach and assistant principal

By SHANNON BREEN

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 23, 2001


PLANT CITY -- Floyd Kelly, assistant principal for Horace Mann Middle School and former Plant City football coach, lost his battle with cancer on Tuesday (March 20, 2001) at home surrounded by family. He turned 54 last week.

Born and raised in Jacksonville, Mr. Kelly came to the Tampa area in 1974, where he joined the coaching staff at Chamberlain High School. He became assistant coach at Plant City High School in the early 1980s and became head football coach in 1986.

He is described by his co-workers, family, and friends as strong, capable and generous.

They said he was a gentleman who struggled to get students college scholarships and helped lead them to success.

Mann Middle School principal, Elaine McBride, worked closely with Mr. Kelly for seven years.

"He was like having another brother. He always took time with people who needed to talk to him. Even when he was ill, he was telling faculty to make sure students study for the FCATs," said McBride.

A love of the game may be hereditary.

His youngest son, Kenny Kelly, is a minor league outfielder in the Devil Rays' farm system and was voted the finest football player in Hillsborough County history by the Times in 1999.

Mr. Kelly was the Unit Board President of the Boys and Girls Club, board member of the Plant City Colts Little League Football, a member of the African American Male Achievers Program, a member of the Plant City Improvement League, a member of the Masons of Florida, Grand Lodge No. 206, a member of Shriners, and a recipient of the E.L. Bing Leadership Award along with numerous community services awards.

Survivors include his wife of 30 years, Shirley King Kelly; three sons, Kenny and Keith, both of Tampa, and Kelvin, West Palm Beach; his father, Alphonso Kelly, Jacksonville; a brother, Samuel Washington, Tallahassee; three sisters, Sarah Gantt, Geraldine Skipper and Leecy Manuel, all of Jacksonville; and five grandchildren.

Visitation is today from 2 to 6 p.m. Funeral services are being held at 2 p.m. Saturday at St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church at 108 Warnell St. in Plant City. He will be buried at Garden of Peace Cemetery in Plant City.

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