Gene Keady was born May 21, 1936, in Larned, Kansas. Keady graduated from Larned High School and after graduation attended Garden City Junior College where he played four sports; basketball, baseball, track, and football, in which he was an all-American. After graduating from Garden City Junior College, Keady attended Kansas State University (K-State) where he played football, baseball, and track.
Keady received his bachelor’s degree in 1958 and played football for the Pittsburgh Steelers for a season before becoming a basketball coach. Keady began his basketball coaching career at Beloit High School in Kansas. In 1964 Keady went back to school and received his master’s degree in education from K-State. In 1965 Keady became the assistant coach at Hutchison Junior College for a year and from 1966 to 1974 was the head coach. From 1974 to 1978, Keady worked as an assistant coach at the University of Arkansas, and then head coach at Western Kentucky University in 1978.
In 1980 Keady became the head coach for Purdue University where he coached until 2005. He became the all time winningest coach at Purdue on December 6, 1997. After he retired from Purdue Keady coached for a season at the Toronto Raptors, and in 2007 became a basketball analyst for the Big Ten Network. In 2010 Keady became a senior assistant coach and advisor at St. John’s University. Keady received many awards for his coaching skills. Keady was named the National Junior College coach of the year in 1971, 1972, and 1973, and the Big Ten coach of the year in 1984, 1988, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 2000. Keady was named coach of the year in 1984 by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), CBS Sports, Chevrolet Scholarship Program, Hoop Scoop, and Iowa Rebounders Club. In 1988, Keady was named coach of the year by NBC sports.
The National Association of Basketball Coaches named Keady coach of the year in 1994 and 2000, and Chevrolet and CBS Sports named him coach of the year in 1995 and 1996. Keady was inducted into the National Junior College Basketball Hall of Fame (1990), the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame (2001), and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame (2007). In 2000 Keady was a part of the coaching staff of the 2000 Olympic men’s basketball team, which won gold at the Sydney games. Keady was the coach for the 1989 World University Games men’s basketball team, which won gold in West Germany, and the 1991 Pan American Games men’s basketball team, which took home bronze.
Entry: Keady, Gene
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: July 2012
Date Modified: July 2016
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