William Ebbin Kelly III (also known as “Bill”), 75, of Amarillo, Texas, died May 13, 2023.
Memorial services will be at 2:00 PM, Saturday, June 3, 2023, at the Boxwell Brothers Ivy Chapel, 2800 Paramount Blvd.
Bill was born June 28, 1947, in Goldsboro, North Carolina to William Ebbin Kelly, Jr. and Olive May Odom. Bill attended high school in Goldsboro North Carolina where he played football and graduated as a North Carolina State Sterling Scholar. He was awarded a full football scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he played from 1965-69 as a wide receiver, running back, and kick returner while majoring in chemistry.
Bill obtained his juris doctorate at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia. While pursuing a degree in law, Bill coached football for the Richmond Spiders as a graduate student. After passing the Virginia bar exam, Bill served as an assistant district attorney for the commonwealth of Virginia. Bill married Carolyn Carneal in 1976 and decided to give up his law practice to pursue a football career full time.
Bill relocated to the State of Utah where he was hired as the head football coach at Pleasant Grove High School where he coached for two seasons (1976-78) and taught chemistry. He also worked part-time for the Utah Attorney General writing appellate briefs. In 1978 his team excelled as high school state champions. In 1981, Bill accepted the head coaching job at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah. Their first season the team was ranked 4th in the nation, were conference champions, and won the “Wool Bowl” against Cisco Junior College, 51-14. In 1982 Snow College defeated Glendale Community College 41-23 in the Valley of the Sun Bowl in Phoenix, Arizona. “Coach Kelly” next moved to Portales, New Mexico as the head football coach for Eastern New Mexico University for two years (1983-84) and won back-to-back championships. Bill’s final stop in his football career was the head football coach for West Texas State University for three years (85-87) where he was named Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the year his first year (1985) and Lone Star Conference Coach of the Year in 1986. Bill’s overall coaching record was 31-20-2.
In 1988 Bill decided to leave football and go back into Law. Bill passed the Texas State Bar and practiced law in Canyon and Amarillo, Texas and was admitted to practice before the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas, and the Supreme Courts of Texas and Virginia while maintaining his license to practice law in the State of Virginia. Bill continued to practice law until his recent illness.
Bill is preceded in death by his parents and sister Diane Fox of Columbia, South Carolina. He is survived by his brother Tim Kelly of New Bern, North Carolina; his four children Michelle L. Kelly and Michael K. Green of Aubrey, Texas; Karena A. Kelly of Houston, Texas; Ryan E. Kelly of Amarillo, Texas; and his four Grandchildren Maci A. Kelly-Wydermyer of Denton, Texas; Benjamin K. Ayers of Portland, Oregon; and Evan M Green and Haydan P. Green of Wylie, Texas.