Hall of Fame - Inductee Detail

Bill "Wild Bill" Kelly

Bill "Wild Bill" Kelly


  • Position: Quarterback
  • School: Montana
  • High School: Missoula, MT (Missoula HS)
  • Years: 1924-1926
  • Inducted: 1969
  • Place of Birth: Denver, CO
  • Date of Birth: Jun 24, 1905
  • Place of Death: New York, NY
  • Date of Death: Nov 14, 1931
  • Height: 5-10
  • Weight: 180

Member Biography

They were not glory years for the Montana football program, yet "Wild Bill" Kelly gave fans all the excitement they could handle. He was a masterful open field runner who darted and dodged his way to electrifying gains. Kelly was raised in Missoula, Montana, in the shadow of his future university. He became the town hero when, in 1923, he led Missoula High School to its first state championship. Montana recruiters weren't about to let this prized athlete escape. It wasn't long before Kelly was running roughshod through enemy defenses. As a sophomore in 1924, Kelly had nine touchdown runs of more than 40 yards. During his junior and senior seasons he had five kickoff returns for touchdowns, two on runs of more than 90 yards. Kelly was the Scourge of the Skyline country in those days, yet he was never able to give his Montana team a winning season. During his three varsity campaigns, Montana compiled an overall record of 10-13-1. Kelly stood 5-10, weighed 180, and played without a helmet. Montana was a member of the Pacific Coast Conference in his time. Kelly played in the 1927 East-West Shrine Game and won the game for the West, 7-3, by completing a pass to Russ Sweet; the play gained 80 yards. In 1971 Kelly was named quarterback for the Shrine Game's all-time team. On November 14, 1931, Kelly was watching a football game at New York, New York, and he suddenly collapsed and died. He was 26 years old.