Tom Kelly, Longtime USC Sportscaster, Dies at 88

"He, to me, has always been the voice of the Trojans," current USC football play-by-play announcer says

Longtime USC sportscaster Tom Kelly died Monday morning at his home in Encino, two days before his 89th birthday.

USC's athletics department announced the news this morning on its Twitter feed. Kelly had waged a long battle with cancer.

The Minnesota native started calling Trojans football and basketball games in the early 1960s. He would go on to call many sporting events during his long career on the Southland airwaves, but is most remembered as the voice of Trojans football. He called games during five national championship seasons, first under coach John McKay in the 1960s and later under Pete Carroll in the mid-2000s.

USC Sports Information Director Tim Tessalone praised Kelly as "one of Southern California's most versatile and accomplished announcers. He did play-by-play for just about every sport imaginable — from football, basketball, baseball, track and boxing to billiards, swimming and golf."

Current USC football play-by-play man Pete Arbogast told KNX Newsradio that Kelly was "an idol of mine, no question."

"He, to me, has always been the voice of the Trojans," Arbogast said.

"It's a terrible loss to the Trojans and to broadcasters in Southern California."


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Kelly "seemed to be everywhere," Arbogast said of the late sportscaster's prolific body of work. "He had that voice that you could hear from six blocks away."

Kelly also worked for years as a nightly sportscaster on Channels 2 and 11, and served as sports director for KTTV from 1966-72.

He was a member of the USC Athletic Hall of Fame and the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Services are pending for Kelly, who is survived by his wife Danusia, four children, a stepson and six grandchildren.

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