ELKHART – Clark Kellogg was right at home in a gymnasium Friday morning.
He was also right at home in front of a microphone.
The personable former Ohio State star was even right at home in the heart of Hoosier country.
Kellogg, the voice of college basketball for CBS Sports, delivered a thoughtful and meaningful message as the featured speaker for the 22nd annual Community Leaders’ Prayer Breakfast.
The former Indiana Pacer star kept his speech short and sweet to the crowd gathered in the sweltering field house at Elkhart Memorial High School.
Kellogg, sporting an Ohio State polo shirt, received a warm greeting after being introduced by Master of Ceremonies Vince Turner. Turner, a former highly-respected sportscaster himself with WTRC, chided the former Buckeye about his collegiate playing days of beating up on the beloved Hoosiers.
“Did all the previous speakers use all of the shot clock?,” said Kellogg alluding to the 45 minutes he was given to speak. “I can’t go that long. I can’t tell you that I will reach the bar that’s been set for me, but I guarantee you that I will go under the shot clock.”
Kellogg joined a distinguished list of former speakers at the breakfast with athletic backgrounds such as Tony Dungy, Mike Singletary and Randall Cunningham.
Kellogg, who was the Big Ten MVP in 1982 and made the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1983, talked about discovering his faith during his 30-minute message.
“I was at a Crossroads in my life after having my third knee surgery,” said Kellogg of 1986 when he was with the Pacers. “I was wondering is there a bigger purpose and then with my wife (Rosy) we found a Church.
“God has a purpose and a plan,” added Kellogg who said he accepted Jesus Christ as his savior in November of 1986. “It’s all about faith.
“The gift from God is available and it’s free of charge. There’s been no greater joy in my life that I’ve experienced than coming to know and trust him.”
Kellogg, a 6-7 forward who played with the Pacers for five seasons before being forced to retire due to a chronic knee condition, once scored 51 points and had 24 rebounds in a state championship game in high school. The 51 points is still a state record for a finals game in Ohio.
Kellogg, a native of Cleveland, is also the VP of player relations for the Pacers, a job he took in 2010. He and his wife of 30 years Rosy have three children, including son Nick who plays basketball at Ohio University.
“My wife told me this is my first real job,” said Kellogg, who celebrated his 52nd birthday earlier this month. “It’s kind of hard to say that playing basketball or broadcasting is work.”
“Basketball has given me a lot and I love it. I love what I do, but it’s not who I am. Being a broadcaster is seasonal and I like that. I don’t have a top 25 for next season. I don’t even have a top three right now. Check back with me after Labor Day though.”
Kellogg, despite not being in college basketball mode, did share his thoughts on several hardwood topics following his speech.
“I think Notre Dame will fare fine in the ACC,” said Kellogg of the Irish decision to leave the Big East for the premier basketball conference in the country. “Mike does a terrific job of maximizing the talent he has. I know that they have a high quality backcourt coming back and that’s a good place to start.
“The changing look of conferences is inevitable. Part of me wishes it would stay the same, but that’s not going to happen. I don’t think it’s the sky falling and the end of the World like some people do however.”
Kellogg also feels that the departure of coach Brad Stevens from Butler to the Celtics is not good for everyone. The 36-year old Stevens was hired as the new Celtics coach on July 3.
“It’s a tremendous loss for college basketball,” Kellogg said of the man who guided the Bulldogs to runner-up finishes in the NCAA Tournament in 2010 and 2011. “Because of Brad’s demeanor and his values. He’s immersed in the game and inspires players and is a great communicator. It’s a great gain for the NBA.”
Kellogg believes that the future is bright for both the Pacers and the Hoosiers. The Pacers lost to eventual champion Miami in seven games in the Eastern Conference finals this past season. IU was 29-7 this past season and spent 10 weeks ranked No. 1, but must replace stars Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller, both who left school early and were picked No. 2 and No. 4 respectively overall in the NBA Draft in June.
“We’re on the right track and have the pieces,” said Kellogg of the Pacers. “The future looks strong and I’m confident we can compete every year for a while. We’ll be in the conversation and that’s all you can ask for.
“IU is back. Those are tough losses (Zeller and Oladpio), but Tom (IU coach Tom Crean) is relentless. You have to put a fence up around the top players in Indiana to keep them here. He’s done that and once they turned that corner they are going to be right there.”