Jack Kelly, a Boston native, graduated from Northeastern University and earned his MS/MBA from Purdue. He began his sports career in 1986 as the executive director of the 1986 U.S. Olympic Festival in Houston. He became the only person to direct two U.S. Olympic Festivals when he took a similar position at the 1990 Festival in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
He then joined the Turner Broadcasting Company as head of the Goodwill Games, an international multi-sport competition, and served as the President and CEO of the Games for six years. During this time, he made over 40 trips to Russia and for the 1994 Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg, and the 1998 Goodwill Games in New York City. Jack subsequently headed the sports commission in Houston and served for many years as a consultant to the Reno-Tahoe Winter Olympic bid.
Jack served on the Board of Directors of USA Baseball, the national governing body for the sport of baseball in the U.S., and led USAB’s search for a new home for the NGB’s headquarters and national training complex, selecting the Raleigh-Durham market in 2002.
In 2006, Jack became the CEO of the 2010 World Equestrian Games, the world’s largest equestrian competition, in Lexington, Kentucky. Kelly helped lay the groundwork for the Games, which became a successful and historic event in Lexington. In 2007, Jack joined the World Air League as a Director and Executive Vice President for Business Development. Jack participated in World Sky Race organizing events in Germany, Bermuda, Jordan, Indonesia and around the USA. Jack was a member of the Bluegrass Sports Commission in 2010 and served as vice chairman in 2011. The commission promotes and stages sporting events in Central Kentucky, notably the Bluegrass State Games.
Jack was a sports trivia expert who at various points in his career made weekly guest appearances on the WLXG radio show Sports Huddle, was the monthly columnist “The Event Doctor” for Sports Travel magazine, and was a regular speaker on sporting event management. Jack had many achievements and awards throughout his lifetime including Houstonian of the Year (Houston City Magazine, 1986), the Lifetime Achievement Award (USA Baseball, 1993), and “One of 25 Most Influential People in Sports in the United States” (Sports and Events Magazine, 2007).