John Shelt


JOHN SHELT graduated from Kellogg High in 1963 where he was a standout in both football and track, but he also excelled in baseball. As a halfback in football, he scored six touchdowns as a sophomore, 16 as a junior and broke the school record with 19 touchdowns as a senior.

He averaged more than 100 yards per game rushing as a junior and 174 yards a game as a senior. His personal best was 220 yards in a game against Clarkston.

He was a first-team all-state selection his final two years and also chosen to the Coeur d’Alene Press All-North Idaho Team both seasons.

In track, he specialized in the 120-yard high hurdles and the 220-yard low hurdles. At state meets, he placed fourth as a sophomore and second in both his junior and senior years in the 120-yard hurdles, and was fourth his senior year at the 220 hurdles. He went undefeated in high hurdles in regular season meets both his junior and senior seasons. He also participated in the high jump as state as a senior.

He played two seasons of basketball at Kellogg and averaged nine points a game as a junior.

Shelt showed off his athleticism in baseball as well where he played in Little League, Babe Ruth and American Legion. He was a shortstop, first baseman and a pitcher. In American Legion, he hit 320 and went 5-2 on the mound in his first season and then hit .410 and went 6-3 pitching during his second year. He impressed the pro scouts enough to earn an offer to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates Class A farm team in Lewiston, Idaho.

Instead, he chose to attend the University of Idaho on a football scholarship where he played running back on the freshman team, where he scored a touchdown and on two two-point conversions in a win over the Washington State freshman squad. He moved to defense as a sophomore where he started two seasons. He played cornerback as a sophomore and moved to linebacker as a junior. He recorded five interceptions and was second on the team in tackles his junior year.

With the Vietnam War making headlines during 1967, Shelt changed his focus to his education and didn’t play football his final year. He had been involved with Advanced ROTC at UI and upon graduation, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. He spent 13 months in Korea as a tank platoon leader during the Vietnam War.

After the war, he lived in Spokane but eventually moved to Kennewick where he settled down and was married. He also became active in coaching youth baseball teams for eight years. He also was involved with the Kennewick Booster Club.

Shelt and his wife Janyce have four children, including Jason Shelt, who is the second all-time leading tackler in UI history.

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