Kelly Golob Continues to Forge Legacy On and Off the Court

kelly golob basketball
: Kelly Golob (blue jersey) defends former Washington State University football player Randy Johnson during an elite Division match-up in the 2013 edition of the Spokane Hoopfest.


By Tom Rohrer

creative officeFor most who play the game, basketball serves as an escape from their personal lives.

In the case of Kelly Golob, basketball has always been an extension of his hard work ethic and desire to help those around him.

Golob, now a chiropractic physician at the Tumwater Chiropractic Center, parlayed his success on the court at Olympia High School to a prolific four season career at Northern Arizona University in the Division I Big Sky Conference.

After redshirting his first season for the Lumberjacks, Golob would score over ten points per game the next four seasons, totaling 1,550 points, 289 three pointers in a school record 3,549 minutes played.  In 2011, Golob was elected to the NAU Athletic Hall of Fame, a testament to his consistent performance as a Lumberjack.  As a senior, Golob was a 2006 ESPN Magazine Academic All-America second-team selection in addition to a first team All-Big Sky Performer the same season.

kelly golob basketball
: Kelly Golob (blue jersey) defends former Washington State University football player Randy Johnson during an elite Division match-up in the 2013 edition of the Spokane Hoopfest.

“Having that first year to build confidence and to grow physically as a player was huge,” said Golob of his red-shirt season. “We had a good offense and we played a team focus.  I played with lots of great players and they’re all great guys.  That helps, having a common respect for one another.”

Following his graduation from NAU in 2006, Golob’s passion for the game carried him to Germany, where he played a season for a professional club in Bayreuth.  The chance to play professionally is one Golob is pleased he took.

“My wife and I had applied to grad school my senior year, and we both decided to put it off for a year, and live in Germany.  I played well, and I really enjoyed how professional the setting was,” said Golob of his experience in Germany. “It was right after we had gotten married, so it was an exciting time to travel and experience new things.  Being able to play at a high level, that was sort of a bonus.”

Following the 2007 season for Bayreuth, it was time for Golob to make a choice.  Would he continue playing professionally, or was it time to hang up the sneakers and dribble towards a career in physical therapy?

“It can be tough to know when it’s time to ‘hang it up.’  Playing at that level is fun, but it’s a grind and you can get stuck in a certain lifestyle,” said Golob.  “My wife got into UCLA for biochemistry and she needed to come back, and I wanted to go to grad school as well, so we returned to the States.”

Golob enrolled at the Southern California University of Health Sciences, where he ultimately received a Doctor of Chiropractic.

Now with two children under the age of five, Golob has re-established himself in the Thurston County area.   Along with his successful practice, Golob gives back to the community through his association with a variety of local organizations.  Golob is a board member of the Rotary Club of Lacey, the team chiropractor for Saint Martin’s University athletics and adjunct faculty at South Puget Sound Community College and Saint Martin’s University.

kelly golob basketball
The former Northern Arizona University and Olympia High School standout recently participated in the USA Basketball 3 x 3 Men’s National Tournament and continues to play in local Olympia city leagues and pick-up games.

“One of the hardest things as an athlete is giving up the game and walking away,” he said. “You all of a sudden have all this time, so it’s a key to fill your time productively.”

A passion for athletics and a desire to help others continues to drive Golob in his profession.

“Every one of my patients has something they want to do that they can’t at that moment because of some impairment. I enjoy helping people be as active as they can be. That may be playing basketball or playing with grandkids,” said Golob. “I can help people with that and I like that I’m working with my hands, problem solving and coming up with the best diagnosis.”

Though his professional and collegiate playing days are behind him, Golob’s basketball game remains at a high level.  Whether he’s playing in the Olympia Parks and Recreation City League or in the weekly pick-up game at Tumwater High School, Golob scores in high bunches from beyond the three point all the way to the rim.

At the annual Spokane Hoopfest, Golob plays in the men’s elite division, a gauntlet slate of games that features former professional and high level collegiate players alike.

In May, Golob teamed up with younger brother Corey (a former standout at Shelton High School who now lives in Los Angeles) and friend Dustin Williams to compete in the USA Basketball National 3 on 3 tournament at the USA Olympic Training Facility in Colorado Springs.  The group received an invite to play in the event following their victory at a Phoenix area 3 on 3 tournament.

While the group didn’t perform as expected, playing in such a tournament was a memorable experience for Golob.

“We got to stay in the Olympic athlete dorms, get access to the facilities, all of that,” he said. “And having the chance to play with my brother and Dustin, that was special.  It was tough competition and that’s always fun to go against.”

Along with his 3 x 3 endeavors, Golob has played in pro-am events such as the 2013 Avery Bradley Pro Am, named for the current Boston Celtics guard from Tacoma.   The quality of basketball throughout the Pacific Northwest makes it all the more appealing to Golob.

“There are players all over the place – guys who can give you a good run or opposition,” said Golob, who graduated as Olympia’s all-time leading scorer. “It’s a great area for basketball.”

In 2002, former Thurston County rivals squared off at the collegiate level, when Golob and the Lumberjacks visited UCLA.  Capital High School graduate, Michael Fey, started at center.  NAU prevailed 67-63 in what remains the Lumberjacks biggest non-conference win in school history.  Golob had 13 points on 4-5 shooting, including 3 of 4 from three point range.

“You dream of playing in that setting against a program as prestigious as UCLA, and to win, that was pretty spectacular,” said Golob. “That’s a game I will always remember.”

Golob remembered his time growing up in Olympia and decided to relocate to the Thurston County area with his high school sweetheart, who works for a medical software company.

“It’s a great community that has a lot of passion for doing good things and improving the community,” said Golob.  “You feed off that.  Plus, it’s so beautiful around here that you can’t get it out of your mind when you live somewhere else.”

The Golob’s two sons, ages two and four, may have the chance to create their own athletic legacy in the Olympia area. But in what sport?  That has yet to be determined.

“Right now, there are just a lot of different balls rolling around the house,” said Golob with a smile.  “There are a lot of options.”

If they do choose basketball, they won’t have to look far for help.

For more information on Kelly Golob, visit


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