Gene Keady arrived at Kansas State as a four-sport athlete from Garden City Community College and sought the same type of activity in Manhattan.
By BLAIR KERKHOFF
The Kansas City Star
Until he stopped by the office of basketball coach Tex Winter.
“I told him I averaged 16 a game,” Keady said. “He said he had watched me play and told me I wasn’t any good.”
Keady went on to letter in football, baseball and track at Kansas State, but the basketball door was only temporarily shut.
Keady went on to a terrific 25-year coaching career at Purdue, amassing 512 victories and six Big Ten championships. Only Indiana’s Bob Knight won more in the conference, and Keady owned a career 21-20 record against Knight.
With family and friends from many of his coaching stops, including Beloit High, on hand, Keady was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame on Sunday at The Midland.
“You grow up in Kansas, and basketball is in your blood,” Keady said.
He grew up in Larned, Kan., and his 55-year coaching career spanned Beloit, Hutchinson Community College, Arkansas, Western Kentucky and Purdue.
When he retired as the Boilermakers coach, Keady spent one year as an NBA assistant. Then he was out of the game — until one of his former Purdue assistants, Steve Lavin, gave him a position as a special assistant/adviser at St. John’s.
“For our kids and our staff, it’s a wonderful thing having a coach with his experience,” Lavin said. “He’s the wise old, our basketball Buddha.”
So, did Keady get the last laugh on Winter?
“No, he was right,” said Keady, 77. “He was loaded with talent, a team that would go on to a Final Four (in 1958). I was probably better in football and baseball, but I loved basketball.”
And Winter did help Keady. When Keady returned to K-State in the early 1960s to work on his master’s, Winter was writing his book, The Triple Post Offense.
“He taught me so much about fundamentals,” Keady said. “So, he was a great influence.”
Just not as Keady’s coach.
To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/BlairKerkhoff.