A highly respected coach who won more than 500 games at the helm of the Purdue men’s basketball program and left an indelible mark on generations of Boilermaker student-athletes, Gene Keady has been elected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame as part of its seven-man induction class of 2013.
Joining Keady in this year’s induction class are former United States Congressman Tom McMillen, 1977 consensus National Player of the Year Marques Johnson of UCLA, coaching legend Rollie Massimino, Bob Hopkins of Grambling, George Raveling of Nike and George Killian of FIBA. In addition, the barrier-breaking 1963 Loyola University (Ill.) team will be the first team inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The Class of 2013 will be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame on Sunday, Nov. 24, at the Midland Theatre in Kansas City as part of a three-day celebration of college basketball. The Hall of Fame is located in the College Basketball Experience, a world-class entertainment facility that provides a multi-faceted interactive experience for fans of the game.
“This election validates Gene’s body of work here and at the places he coached preceding Purdue,” Purdue athletics director Morgan Burke said. “It reinforces his philosophy of caring about individual student-athletes, both while they were here and after they’d moved on from Purdue.”
Keady posted a 512-270 (.655) record in 25 seasons at Purdue and a 550-289 (.656) mark in 27 seasons as a Division I college head coach. Counting his time in junior college and high school, as well as four stints with USA Basketball, Keady has a lifetime head coaching record of 879-381 and a .698 lifetime winning percentage.
He became Purdue’s all-time winningest head coach with a victory over Louisville on Dec. 6, 1997, and won his 500th game at Purdue on Jan. 14, 2004, by with a defeat of Wisconsin.
“Aside from being one of the greatest ever to coach the game, Coach Keady has been a mentor to so many men who played for him at Purdue,” Purdue head men’s basketball coach Matt Painter said. “His accomplishments speak for themselves and his name remains synonymous with Purdue basketball. I’m thrilled to see him receive this well-deserved honor.”
Keady led the Boilermakers to six Big Ten championships in his 25-year tenure, including a run of three-straight outright crowns (1994-96) that has only been matched by just one other school in conference history (Ohio State, 1960-62). Purdue finished in the upper half of the Big Ten 18 times during Keady’s time in West Lafayette.
Overall, the Boilers won at least 25 games six times under Keady’s watch and reached the 20-win mark 14 times, including a school-record streak of six 20-win seasons from 1983-88. His 265 Big Ten victories still rank second in conference history.
Keady guided Purdue to 22 postseason appearances in his 25 years at the helm, reaching the NCAA Tournament 17 times. Keady-led Purdue teams reached the Elite Eight in 1994 and 2000, and advanced to the Sweet 16 in 1988, 1998 and 1999.
Keady coached Glenn Robinson, the 1994 consensus National Player of the Year. Robinson led the nation in scoring with an average of 30.3 points per game and set Purdue and Big Ten single-season records with 1,030 points that season.
Keady-coached players earned All-America honors four times, Big Ten MVP on three occasions and first-team All-Big Ten 15 times. Thirteen of Keady’s players were selected in the NBA Draft, including three first-round picks. Robinson was the top overall selection in the 1994 draft.
For his efforts, Keady was named National Coach of the Year six times, most recently in 2000. He also garnered a record seven Big Ten Coach of the Year awards during his tenure at Purdue, tying former Indiana coach Bob Knight for the most all-time selections. Keady is the only coach in Big Ten history to win the award three years in a row.
Under Keady, the Boilers were just as successful in the classroom as on the basketball court. More than 90 percent of players who played four seasons at Purdue graduated from the university. In Keady’s tenure, Boilermaker players earned nearly 40 Academic All-Big Ten honors and garnered Academic All-America recognition seven times.
Keady was named Purdue’s 17th head men’s basketball coach on April 11, 1980, following a two-year stint as head coach at Western Kentucky. He led the Hilltoppers to a 38-19 record, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in his second season after capturing a share of the Ohio Valley Conference title.
Prior to taking the reins at Western Kentucky, Keady was an assistant coach at Arkansas from 1975-78, where he helped Eddie Sutton mold the Razorback program into one of the nation’s best. Arkansas went 94-24 in Keady’s four seasons as an assistant, finishing third in the NCAA Tournament in his final campaign.
From 1966-74, Keady coached at Hutchinson (Kan.) Junior College, serving as an assistant for a year before taking over the program.
Hutchinson won six league titles and qualified for six national tournaments under Keady’s watch, including a national runner-up showing and 29-4 overall record in 1972-73. He was named Region Six Junior College Coach of the Year three times.
Before his time at Hutchinson, Keady began his head coaching career at Beloit (Kan.) High School from 1959-65, where he compiled a 102-47 record.
Keady was also a prominent member of the international basketball community thanks to his extensive involvement with USA Basketball. He was a member of Rudy Tomjanovich’s coaching staff for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, where Team USA captured a gold medal.
He also assisted in selecting the 1984 and 1988 U.S. Olympic squads, and was chosen by Tomjanovich to help coach the USA Basketball Senior National Team at the 1999 Americas Qualification Tournament.
Keady coached the U.S. entry in the 1989 World University Games to a gold medal in West Germany, marking the United States’ first championship in international competition in three years. He was the head coach of the U.S. team at the 1991 Pan-American Games, leading a bronze-medal effort. Keady earlier led a group of collegiate all-stars in the U.S. Olympic Developmental Program to a silver medal at the 1985 Jones Cup in Taiwan.
His first international experience came in the summer of 1979, when he guided the National Sports Festival Team to a gold medal.
Overall, Keady has helped USA Basketball win three gold medals, a silver medal and a bronze medal, while establishing an impressive 40-2 (.952) record.
During the 2003-04 season, Keady was named one of 16 finalists for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, and was honored with the NABC Golden Anniversary Award in 2010 in recognition of his five decades of contributions to the game of college basketball.
The Larned, Kan., native attended Garden City (Kan.) Junior College, where he was a four-sport star and earned All-America honors as a quarterback. He moved on to Kansas State, where he played baseball and football and ran track while earning a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and physical education.
He played briefly for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1958 before joining the coaching ranks at Beloit High School. Keady earned a Master’s degree in education from Kansas State in 1964. He is enshrined in the National Junior College Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and coach, and the Kansas Hall of Fame as a coach.
Keady is currently a special advisor to St. John’s head coach and former Purdue graduate assistant Steve Lavin.