LARNED — Larned native Gene Keady, a six-time National Coach of the Year, will be honored in his hometown Saturday at noon.
Keady, born in Larned in 1936, will leave his current home in the bustling metropolis of New York City and visit his hometown for the fourth time in 30 years Saturday.
Larned will honor Keady in a ceremony at noon Saturday at East Moffett Stadium gate on Carroll Ave. Third Street, where Keady was raised by his parents, Mary Helen and Lloyd Gibson Keady, will be renamed “Gene Keady Way.”
“It is a great privilege to be able to give recognition to a hometown boy,” said Larned Mayor Bob Pivonka. “Gene Keady has, over his lifetime and coaching tenure, shown the character and hard-working values on which he was raised. To be able to designate Third Street as `Gene Keady Way’ will be an honor for the citizens of Larned and Pawnee County,.”
The city’s annual Santa Fe Trail Days celebration features an all-class Larned High School reunion, concerts, a parade and other family activities.
“This is something totally unexpected, but it’s really appreciated,” Keady said. “I love my hometown and it is terrific to be honored in this way by the Larned community. Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to have been surrounded by a supportive family and so many individuals that I would like to share this honor with.”
Keady will be joined by family, including sister, Norma Lee Raffety, of Fair Oaks, Calif., and friends in the central Kansas town for the parade and ceremony.
Keady is a Purdue and Big Ten luminary, and the Special Assistant/Advisor for St. John’s men’s basketball since 2010.
Keady will be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame at the Midland Theatre in Kansas City Nov. 24.
He joins joins former U.S. Congressman Tom McMillen, 1977 national consensus player of the year Marques Johnson of UCLA, Rollie Massimino of Villanova, Bob Hopkins of Grambling and contributors George Raveling of Nike and George Killian of FIBA in the Class of 2013. Additionally, the barrier-breaking 1963 Loyola University (Chicago) team will become the first team inducted.
One of the most respected coaches in the history of college basketball, Keady spent 27 seasons at the helm of the Purdue and Western Kentucky programs and won 550 NCAA Division I games.
Keady was the National Coach of the Year six times (1984, 1988, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 2000) during a 25-year tenure at Purdue, where he guided the Boilers to 512 victories and six Big Ten championships (1984, 1987, 1988, 1994, 1995 and 1996), including three-straight crowns from 1994-96.
He won more than 800 career wins at all levels. he currently serves as the Red Storm’s Special Assistant/Advisor.
In 1988, a coaching veteran gave an aspiring young colleague a chance with a position at Purdue University. In the spring of 2010, 23 seasons later, that one-time Boilermaker graduate assistant, Steve Lavin, called upon his former boss to join him in a new endeavor at St. John’s University in an advisory role.
“Clearly, Gene Keady is deserving of every honor bestowed upon him,” said Lavin. “During Gene Keady’s career, no other coach in the college basketball landscape more consistently molded championship teams. In the 1980s, 1990s and into the new millennium his Purdue Boilermaker teams set the gold standard for teamwork, toughness and a relentless will to win.
“Equally impressive is his track record for shaping young men,” Lavin said. “It has been his lifelong commitment to honor the game of basketball by being one of its greatest ambassadors.
Lavin said Keady gave him his coaching start 25 years ago at Purdue when he was hired as a graduate assistant
“From a personal perspective, other than my parents he has been the most influential person in my life,” Lavin said. “Working alongside Coach Keady at both Purdue and now St. John’s has been a true blessing. Honors like the street naming and his induction into the College Basketball Hall Of Fame is a perfect exclamation point on a remarkable career.”
Though Keady’s role at St. John’s does not involve any on-court coaching, his keen eye and feel for the game aids the Red Storm coaching staff in terms of developing strategy, analyzing game film, planning practices, and contributing at staff meetings.
With experience at the collegiate level and in the professional ranks as an assistant coach with the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, Keady brings decades of perspective to the Red Storm bench.
Each of Keady’s seven former assistants-now-turned-active-head-coaches have enjoyed success, including Lavin, Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt), Matt Painter (Purdue), Cuonzo Martin (Tennessee), Bruce Weber (Kansas State), Linc Darner (Florida Southern) and Alan Major (Charlotte).
Five of Keady’s seven former assistants were selected to the 2013 postseason, with Lavin, Martin and Major earning top-five seeds in the 2013 NIT Championship. Kansas State earned a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Championship and Florida Southern earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Division II South Regional..
The 2012-13 Red Storm advanced to the Second Round of the National Invitation Tournament and finished its campaign at 17-16. The Red Storm’s 63-61 March 19 NIT win over Saint Joseph’s was the first non-vacated postseason victory since the 2001 NCAA Tournament.