Campus Corner

New Hall of Famer Gene Keady learned from Tex Winter, but not as a player

Updated: 2013-11-25T03:42:35Z

By BLAIR KERKHOFF

The Kansas City Star

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.

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 bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/BlairKerkhoff.

Deal Saver Subscribe today!

Comments

The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Kansas City Star uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here