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In Memory

University mourns former All-American Keli McGregor

Updated April 22, 2010

The Colorado State University community is mourning the loss of former Rams football All-American and longtime supporter Keli McGregor. McGregor, '84, president of the Colorado Rockies, died Tuesday while on business in Salt Lake City.

Memorial Service Sunday at Coors Field

Keli McGregor, '84, at Coors Field in 2007.

A memorial service for family and friends of Colorado Rockies Team President Keli S. McGregor will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, April 25 at Coors Field.

Friends who would like to attend the service for McGregor may enter Coors Field through Gates A or D beginning at 10 a.m.

Share memories, contributions

The family has asked that contributions in memory of Keli McGregor be made to: The Colorado Rockies Foundation, 2001 Blake Street, Denver, CO 80205-2000.

Rockies fans attending this weekend's home games are encouraged to wear purple in honor of McGregor. In addition, friends and fans who would like to share their memories and wishes for the family may do so via the team's website.

Enormous and tragic loss

McGregor, president of the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club, passed away Tuesday, while on business in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“This is an enormous and tragic loss for CSU and all of Colorado,” President Tony Frank said. “Keli was a true champion in life and on the field, who exemplified what we'd want for all our graduates -- an honorable and successful business leader, dedicated family man, and loyal alumnus who was unwavering in his support for CSU and our students. The McGregors are an important part of our CSU family, and our hearts are with them and his Rockies colleagues at this difficult time."

Man of integrity and class

“We are deeply saddened,” said Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk. “Keli was a man of integrity and class, the finest representative of Colorado State University and Ram Athletics. Our condolences go out to Lori, his children and family, the Rockies and all those whose lives he touched.”

A United Press International and Associated Press All-American in 1984, McGregor arrived on the CSU campus as a pre-vet major who didn’t have any scholarship offers out of Lakewood High School due to his smaller size. But he hit a growth spurt soon after coming to Fort Collins, and head football coach Sark Arslanian, who knew his father (the head coach at Arvada West), convinced McGregor to join his team in time for the fall of 1981.

Keli McGregor, No. 88, in action with the Rams in the early 1980s.

Rams football walk-on in 1981

After McGregor played varsity as a walk-on in ’81, Arslanian promised him a scholarship the following fall, but the university replaced the coach before he could make good on that endeavor, leaving McGregor uncertain about his future. However, athletic director Fum McGraw and new head coach Leon Fuller made sure McGregor’s scholarship was waiting for him when he returned for fall camp in 1982, and the tight end became one of the most prolific offensive weapons in CSU history.

He was on the CSU campus in the recent past to tour the Rams’ new athletic facilities. His daughter, Jordan, is a sophomore at the institution, and his godson, Ben Tedford, is a sophomore on the football team. Tedford hails from Columbine High School, which tragically became nationally prominent exactly 11 years ago Tuesday.

Head coach Steve Fairchild planned to address his team about McGregor prior to Tuesday’s practice.

Statement from football Head Coach Steve Fairchild

After obtaining his degree in biological sciences, McGregor was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 1984 and played for Indianapolis and Seattle before retiring from professional football.

“We just missed playing together here at CSU, but we have a lot of mutual friends, people like John Benton, who’s now with the Houston Texans, and Dan Hammerschmidt and Tom Ehlers, members of my current staff who played with Keli here at Colorado State. So, we’d gotten to know each other really well since our playing days.

"I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for Keli, not just as a leader, but as a person. He was so successful, so accomplished, but he carried himself in such a humble manner. He’s always been someone I looked up to.

“Two summers ago, Keli and I spent an entire day at Coors Field, in his box. We were all by ourselves and we just spent the day talking about everything, from pro sports vs. college sports, how to assemble a good team, the meaning of character, genuine leadership and mentoring. I’ll never forget that day. I’m a better person because of it.

“What chokes me up the most, though, is that his family just lost their dad, and Lori has lost her husband. I can’t even find words to describe how much of a blow that is for a family to lose a man like that. I’m praying for his family most.

“There are a lot of people here at Colorado State affected by this news. This is a heartbreaking day on our campus.”

McGregor’s athletic career at Colorado State

  • Joined the Rams as an undersized halfback, not highly recruited out of Lakewood High School due to his size.
  • A four-year starter (1981-84), played his redshirt freshman season as a walk-on, convinced to come out for football by then head coach Sark Arslanian, who noticed his growth spurt. Given a scholarship the following season by then athletic director Fum McGraw and new head coach Leon Fuller.
  • Held the Rams’ single-season receptions record (69 in 1983) until David Anderson broke it in 2003. Still ranks fifth all-time in career catches at CSU, with 153.
  • Earned UPI and AP All-America honors following the 1984 season.
  • Three-time all-Western Athletic Conference (1982-84).
  • Inducted into the Colorado State Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.
  • Named to the Rams’ all-century team in 1992.
  • Selected by the Denver Broncos in the fourth round of the 1985 NFL Draft.

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Contact: Brad Bohlander
E-mail: Brad.Bohlander@colostate.edu
Phone: (970) 491-1545