Kelly B. Long Memorial Scholarship

Kelly Long’sparents, Ron and Irene Long, established this scholarship to perpetuate the memory of their son. Kelly Brian Long who wished to be a teacher and coach. He had chosen this vocation because he wanted to encourage young people to be all that they could be. His family knew how important this goal was to Kelly, therefore, this scholarship was established in hopes it would assist young people to achieve their goals by helping with the financial obstacles many students face.

Kelly was born dyslexic. This condition had not been identified as a learning disability when he labored through his elementary years. He was also large for his age, uncoordinated and tender of heart. He was labeled many things which were not complementary and carried these negative labels with silent strength bolstered by his family. These trails gave him a broad understanding of how difficult school and interaction with authority figures could be for some students.

Wrestling gave Kelly the reprieve he needed to stay in school. Orlie Ortega, his first wrestling coach, had great patience with him and encouraged him constantly while he introduced him to the sport. This able man sparked a desire in Kelly to dare to reach for success at a time in his life when he was being told by some around him that he did not have the tools to be successful. Coach Ortega awakened a faith in self within a young man who felt he labored under a sentence of perpetual failure.

Wrestling brought success into Kelly’slife and he blossomed into a confident young man. He became dedicated to sports and to bringing his grades up and going to college. He gave both an unwavering effort and began to have victories on the mat and in his personal life. Throughout this time he continued his attitude that nothing was impossible if you truly tried.

His teammates soon looked to him as a leader. His classmates looked on him as an understanding person, easy to talk to and one who never stopped encouraging. He became a very popular, very respected upper-classman. He always had time for young children and often ran the track at the junior high school on weekends with an assortment of elementary and junior high boys who he called his buddies.

Kelly’sattitude toward life was actually quite simple. He felt that if you never ventured anything you could never reap anything. His personal motto seemed to become, “Go for it!” These three little words held powerful meaning to him as they represented how he had triumphed over the negative influences he had negotiated.

He wanted to become a teacher to try and enrich the lives of young people with positive attention and encouragement to be all that they could be. He appreciated the teachers he had who had stayed the course with and realized he was actually very intelligent and never held a grudge against the others.

His life was a living example of how we chart our own course by the dedications and decisions we make. We can elect to forge ahead toward our goals or lag behind consumed with anger brought about by a sense of injustice. Kelly always kept his eye on his goals. It is his family’sdesire to assist the recipients of this scholarship to achieve their goals.

Kelly wrote the following in 1982, which was the year he died. He was a student at Western Colorado University.

Physical strength means one has the capacity to win.
Spiritual strength means one has the desire to win.
One by itself, makes a winner.
The two together make a champion.

-Athletics: Must be a participant in intercollegiate wrestling.
-Year in School (after completion of current spring semester): Incoming freshmen through seniors
-GPA: 3.0 or higher during four years of high school
-Residence: Must be a resident of Colorado,

The WESTERN Head Wrestling Coach.