Kelcher to Join Chargers Hall of Fame

Defensive tackle Louie Kelcher, five-time team captain of the San Diego Chargers, has been selected as the 31st member of the team's Hall of Fame, the selection committee announced on Wednesday. Kelcher will be officially inducted at halftime of the Chargers game against the Minnesota Vikings on November 9.

Louie Kelcher was a fan favorite during his nine years as the tenacious, beefy tackle with the Chargers (1976-84). During that time, the Bolts made the playoffs three times, winning the AFC West in 1979, '80 and '81. And Kelcher won his share of acclaim for his solid, forceful play on the field and man-about-town persona off. Kelcher was traded to San Francisco in 1985 and retired from football the following year.

Kelcher began his NFL career as the Chargers' second-round choice in 1975. In 1977 he led the team with 99 tackles. He also recorded 11 sacks, earning his first Pro Bowl berth. Kelcher missed all but 15 minutes of the 1979 season with a serious knee injury but came back strong in 1980. He had 20 tackles and one sack versus Oakland in the AFC Championship game, winning a starting spot for the AFC team in the Pro Bowl for the second time.

In 1981, Kelcher led the team's defensive linemen with 109 tackles; he also recorded 5 sacks. He was named to the second team All-Pro by the Associated Press and to the second team All-AFC by UPI.

Kelcher led the Chargers' defensive linemen with the best percentage of tackles to play, started 7 of 8 games, and posted 38 tackles in regular and post season play in 1982. He started 90 out of 92 games with the team, and had a career total 39 sacks for 325 yards.

Kelcher's career with the Chargers spanned eight seasons (1975-83). He was named team captain five consecutive years (1977-81) and earned three trips to the Pro Bowl following the 1977, '78 and '80 seasons. Over his career he managed 577 tackles. Kelcher also started six playoff games for the Chargers, registering 56 tackles and one sack in playoff action.

"Of all the teammates I've ever played with, I think Louie was the most universally beloved guy on the team," Pro Football and Chargers Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts said to Chargers.com. "That goes beyond the football field. I cherish his friendship to this day."

"At the time, Louie was the most feared defensive tackle in the NFL," said Fouts. "So many guys from other teams that you would meet in the offseason and at the Pro Bowl would just marvel at Louie's abilities and how hard he played and how great a player he was."

"I was fortunate to play with a lot of great guys," Kelcher told Chargers.com. "Gary Johnson, Fred Dean, Leroy Jones, Charles DeJurnett and guys like that. Obviously, being around such a prolific offense like Air Coryell and all those guys like Dan (Fouts), Charlie (Joiner), Kellen (Winslow), and J.J. (John Jefferson), the list goes on and on. There are so many so many memories. It was a blast just being a part of it. Being named to the Chargers Hall of Fame is something I will treasure from here on out."

Kelcher earned his first Pro Bowl berth following the 1977 season when he established a career-high with 11 sacks and recorded 99 tackles while playing in just 12 games. In 1981, he recorded a career-best 109 tackles in 14 games. Kelcher missed the bulk of the 1979 season with a knee injury suffered in training camp that year.

Kelcher finished his career with San Francisco, earning a Super Bowl Championship with the 49ers following the 1984 season. Kelcher officially retired from football in 1985, having played in 116 NFL games in nine seasons.

Louie James Kelcher was born on Aug. 23, 1953 in Beaumont, Texas, and played football for the French High School Buffaloes in Beaumont. Kelcher continued his playing career at Southern Methodist University, where he earned Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year and consensus All-America honors after recording 22 sacks as a senior in 1974. Kelcher was the Chargers' third selection and the 30th player taken overall in the 1975 NFL Draft.

Currently, Kelcher owns and operates ProLine Wherehouse and Distribution, a wherehousing, trucking and transportation company in Austin, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Mary Lynne, and twin daughters, Kelsey and Kaitlin. Kelcher also has son, Louie Jr., and daughter, Lauren.

Kelcher will be joining 30 members in the Chargers Hall of Fame, including (in order of induction): wide receiver Lance Alworth, tackle Ron Mix, running back Paul Lowe, running back Keith Lincoln, majority owner Barron Hilton, defensive tackle Ernie Ladd, guard Walt Sweeney, quarterback John Hadl, linebacker Chuck Allen, wide receiver Gary Garrison, head coach Sid Gillman, defensive end Earl Faison, quarterback Dan Fouts, wide receiver Charlie Joiner, head coach Don Coryell, cornerback Leslie "Speedy" Duncan, tight end Kellen Winslow, tackle Russ Washington, minority owner George Pernicano, kicker Rolf Benirschke, cornerback Gill Byrd, defensive lineman Gary "Big Hands" Johnson, offensive lineman Doug Wilkerson, wide receiver Wes Chandler, quarterback Stan Humphries and head coach Bobby Ross. Linebackers Frank Buncom, Emil Karas, Bob Laraba, and tight end Jacque MacKinnon were all inducted posthumously as honorary members into the Chargers Hall of Fame in 1976.

Chargers President-CEO Dean Spanos is the chairman of the Hall of Fame selection committee. Joining Spanos on the committee are Bob Breitbard, Founder of the San Diego Hall of Champions; Bill Allen, Chairman of the San Diego International Sports Council; Jayne Beckett, President of the San Diego Chargers Backers, and Bill Johnston, Director of Public Relations for the San Diego Chargers.

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