Lightning and Louie

After the Bolts announced that Louie Kelcher would be honored as the 31st member to the Chargers Hall of Fame, the opportunity arose for me to do my first interview for the site. Needless to say, I was pretty ecstatic.

Louie, you see, was one of the Chargers who ushered me into the NFL and the love for the Chargers. As a kid I remember the Charger Power tees, the cannon, and our exciting style of play. The chants of "Loouuiiee!" still ring through my brain.

Kelcher had just got home from San Diego where he attended his press conference with the media and the Chargers announcing his induction. I congratulated him on being the new inductee and asked him how the trip went.

'It was fun," Kelcher said with his Texas accent, "something I wasn't expecting. I got the chance to see some old teammates and that was nice. I really didn't think it was going to be that big a deal, but I walked in and saw all the cameras, Rolf was standing there, I saw my jersey hanging...it was very special."

The announcement would have been made a little sooner, but due to prior commitments, Kelcher couldn't get out to San Diego any earlier.

'They told me in June...May or June that I was going in but I had some things going on and I couldn't make it out." said Kelcher.

He asked me what the site was about and I told him the story of GTP and how it got started. I let him know about the pictures and sheepishly told him I only had about three or four of him due to the lack of pictures available.

"There's not a lot out there. I burned them all." he laughed.

Some players keep up with the game, some don't. Kelcher now keeps busy running a warehouse trucking distribution center in Austin, Texas.

"Being away from the game and not knowing any of the people involved I don't keep up. I keep busy with family and am a big NASCAR fan." Kelcher said.

About then, the power went out and the phone went dead. We were having a hell of a storm and lightning hit pretty close to my house. It was short lived and luckily, I got Louie back on the phone.

"Which former teammates do you still keep up with?" I asked.

"Me and Fouts are still really close. We took a vacation together this last year. Went to Ireland and Scotland. (Ed) White, (Don) Macek, Billy Shields, Big Hands is down in Louisiana. When I swing through San Diego I see Hank (Bauer). We developed great relationships and always wanna keep up. Now we wonder what 50 year old ex football players talk about." Kelcher laughed. "We're not spring chickens anymore."

I wanted to ask him a couple of questions from the message boards. One question a board member had dealt with the '79 playoff loss against Houston. If we would have won, would we have gone all the way?

After a brief pause you could almost see the smiling smirk Louie had on his face. "...There was a lot of those. C' mon man, I thought we were gonna keep this thing positive," he joked, "Whaddya want me to do, come up there and kick everyone's ass??"

I had a few more questions to ask, but felt bad because he just walked in the door from his trip so I cut to the last one. Was Air Coryell the greatest offense in history?

"I haven't seen one that put up those kinds of numbers." Kelcher said, "They'd go out and score 40, 50 points a game. Course we had to back then. He laughed. "It was a natural fit for all our guys. Coryell, our players, Zampiese--it was a natural fit for everyone. I was a fan of Air Coryell."

And with that, it was pretty much over. He told me to make sure I got those storms cleared out in Chicago because his wife's 30 year high school reunion was coming up and she was going to be up this way. It felt like I was talking to an old friend. In a sense, I was.

I appreciate you taking time out to talk with us Mr. Kelcher.

-Scott


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