Andy Kelly

Andy Kelly, right, holds up his old University of Tennessee football jersey during the Dayton library’s Munch-a-Lunch event on Tuesday.

Former Rhea County High School and University of Tennessee football star Andy Kelly spent Wednesday afternoon recounting his career and answering questions during the Clyde W. Roddy Library’s Munch-a-Lunch event on Tuesday.

The library holds the Munch-a-Lunch event every other month, library officials said, and invites different speakers to each program.

“We do this throughout the year,” Clyde W. Roddy Library Director Kay Madewell said. “We provide lunch, a guest speaker or even sometimes a book discussion.”

Madewell said that each month, nearly 30 people attend the events, and sometimes even more.

“We had people lined up out the door when Dr. Thomas Bovine was here to speak about the wildflowers of Tennessee,” Madewell said. “The turnout really varies from month to month.”

Library officials said that this month, they wanted to coordinate the Munch-a-Lunch theme with the kids’ summer reading program theme — sports.

“We’re in the middle of our summer reading program,” assistant librarian Angela Kopeski said. “TennCate gave us [artificial] grass to place in one of our rooms to expand on our sports theme, and they really came through in a big way and made this special.”

Kopeski said the library reached out to Kelly earlier this year and were happy that accepted the invitation to speak at this month’s event.

“We started the ball rolling early and called his office,” Kopeski said. “And he graciously agreed to come.”

Tuesday’s lunch featured a ballpark and stadium staple — hot dogs with chili, and during the event, Kelly said that he was happy to be asked to participate and reminisce on his football career.

“I started my playing career at Dayton City School as a Sweatbee and went on to Rhea County High School,” Kelly said. “We had a rough couple years in high school as a freshman and sophomore, but had great years as a junior and senior. Some of the best memories I have are playing at DCS and Rhea County High School.”

Reed Johnson can be contacted at reed.johnson@rheaheraldnews.com.