E.A. Sports Today

Historical perspective

Emmy-winning EA Sports Today contributor to make Iron Bowl presentations in Anniston, Jacksonville this month

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Students aren’t the only ones learning something in the classroom.


One of the things Mark Kelly has learned as a substitute teacher in the Calhoun County school system is how to make things interesting and engaging to the students in his charge.

Reaching back to his 10 years as an Emmy-winning researcher for ESPN, Kelly has developed a series of 30- to 40-minute sports-related programs that fit well into an educational setting and have captured the attention of his various audiences.

“I love talking to kids and I have a really good way of telling this story,” he said. “That’s essentially all this is, telling a story and getting them interested in something that might just spark their interest in something they never knew they were interested in and then all of a sudden all these other opportunities open up.”

Earlier this year he presented a Jackie Robinson retrospective in libraries and civic groups across North Alabama and he has several others programs in the works. Ideally, he’d like to get the programs into the schools and ultimately he’d like to offer them for sale on line.

His latest project is a deep-dive “Inside the Numbers of the Iron Bowl” planned for the public libraries in Anniston (Tuesday) and Jacksonville (Nov. 17). The program starts at 6 p.m.

The program focuses on the rivalry since Nick Saban has been Alabama’s coach. It looks at the numbers associated with the game, but also explores the reason they play the game as well as the personalities, players and top games for each side.

Kelly worked for ESPN from 1999 until health issues forced him onto disability in 2009. He won Best Studio Show Emmys in 2003 and 2004 for his work on Sports Center and he has worked with some of the network’s biggest personalities – Chris Berman, John Saunders and Dick Vitale among them.

Not bad for a kid from Long Island who aspired to be a basketball coach back in the day.

He moved South in February 2020 and started working with WOTM-TV. In addition to his subbing, he is a contributor to East Alabama Sports Today.

To learn more about Kelly’s story and the programs he has for presentation, contact him at 631-806-6567 or mekelly@ckmagicsports.com. Even the email address has a story. It’s his name, of course, but the “ck” comes from “Coach Kelly” from his basketball days and the “Magic” is because Magic Johnson was his favorite player.

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