Growing up, Kelly Price enjoyed football and baseball.
So much, in fact, that he lettered in both sports while attending Sierra High in Colorado Springs, Colorado in the late 1980s.
To his credit, Price was a fixture on the gridiron, which ultimately gave way to his earning All-State honors at the linebacker position. In addition, he made his presence felt on the baseball diamond while occupying the first baseman position.
His contributions to athletics didn’t go unnoticed by college scouts. Price garnered an array of interest to play football at the collegiate level. Among the schools that showed the most interest in offering Price a full-fledge scholarship was Arizona State.
However, as much as Price enjoyed the competitive drive that sports produced, his athletic tenure was short-lived.
He never set foot on a college campus because, as he tells, he was burned out from school.
“I had a chance to go to ASU, but I passed on it,” Price told MemphiSport. “I was going to be a Sun Devil. I was tired of going to school. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I definitely didn’t want to go back to school.”
After weeks of pondering his future, Price finally decided to enlist in the Army. Given how quickly he became acclimated to military life, it’s safe to say that passing up on the opportunity to play major college football wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
“I got there and I figured it out,” said Price, explaining why he chose to join the military. “When I got to the Army and started jumping out of airplanes, that’s what I wanted to do. I was 17 years old. When you’re 17 years old, you don’t know what you want to do in life. You’re not sure about the job market. You have to figure out who you are and that’s the whole thing. Between the ages of 17 and 24, that’s when you decide who you’re going to be. And then it takes another 10 years to figure that out. And then by that time, you think about retiring. Life is funny like that.”
Having served in the Army from 1988-2009, Price, 43, said there is distinct correlation between sports and the military, something he believes benefited him mightily while serving his country.
“The military to me was almost like a team,” he said. “Because when I got there, I was around guys just like in sports. No one person is bigger than the other. When you’re in the trenches, there is no one color. You’re just there to do your job.”
Nearly five years removed from having retired from the military, Price, the chief executive officer of Memphis Entrepreneur Academy and Networking In Memphis, is destined to take on a greater challenge. A St. Louis native, Price recently announced that he will be running for Shelby County Commission Position 3, a post that will be vacated in August by Chris Thomas.
Early election takes place May 6 and the general election is in August. A town hall meeting will take place on March 25 at 6 p.m.
Raised in Odin, Ill., among the reasons Price aspires to assume the County Commission position is that he aims to bring about a sense of professionalism to the local political landscape, something he feels Memphis has lacked for a number of years.
“My first day (in Memphis), it was the night after (former Memphis mayor Willie) Herenton got elected,” said Price, who relocated to the Mid-South in 2007. “And I remember him saying, ‘I got re-elected and now I’m shaking my haters off.’ I mean, who says that? And if you ever watch the county meetings with the bickering and arguing, that’s totally unprofessional. As politicians, you should exhibit professionalism.”
As Price, a Grizzlies season ticket holder, lobbies for a County Commission seat, he said among his main focuses will be to devise ways to ensure government officials become good stewards, to be a voice for the people, to enforce entrepreneurship, and to become a servant for citizens, among others.
“I tell what I want to do,” said Price, who also coaches a local recreational baseball team. “If I don’t do a good enough job serving the people, I want run for re-election. “They should be able to see the work I’m doing. Anybody who knows me knows it’s not about me. No…it should never be about you.”
A key attribute he embraced wholeheartedly even after he passed up a football scholarship.