• Longtime Bulldogs leader will remain athletic director and head football coach

Emotions were high for Cedartown fans as they heard the news, and for many tears came to their eyes. Doyle Kelley’s long career as a baseball leader in Polk County is coming to a close.

“I tell people all the time I had two dreams — well really three dreams — when I was in college,” Kelley said. “I wanted to be the head baseball coach at Cedartown High, and the head football coach at Cedartown High.”

“I also wanted to retire at 55, but that didn’t work out,” Kelley joked.

Even still, his long career as the head coach — 25 years of service for the Bulldogs on the sidelines of the baseball diamond — came to an end on April 20. Kelley had turned in his notice on Thursday after notifying players that when the regular season came to a close last week, he wouldn’t be returning.

The longtime coach in recent weeks was forced off the sidelines even by health issues, and physicians told him that if he wanted to continue wearing as many hats as he does in the community, Kelley would also have to give something up.

Since the only success he lacked was a state championship in baseball — he came close to a ring two years ago with a Final Four finish in the Class AAA playoffs — that he could give it up, but not without a heavy heart since “I poured my heart into this for the past 25 years.”

The good news in this story is the 1979 graduate of Cedartown High School isn’t going anywhere.

Kelley will still continue on with his duties as the athletic director and head football coach for the Bulldogs, as well as an educator and pastor of Worldview Baptist Church in Cedartown.

For the meantime, he’s going to try to slow down for at least a few weeks before spring practice sessions see the Bulldogs return back to the gridiron. They won’t be playing a spring game this year, instead picking up two scrimmage games in August.

Kelley added in his comments following his final game as head coach that he was thankful to the people of Cedartown for giving him opportunities he’s had both past and present to be a leader and help keep Polk County on the map in Georgia for athletic talent.

So he can leave knowing that through all the years of work, he fulfilled one of his main goals.

“I dreamed about this,” Kelley said. “God does let you live your dreams out.”

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