SE: Hometown to Honor Gene Keady

K-State alumnus Gene Keady will have a street named for him in his hometown of Larned, Kansas on June 8.

May 30, 2013

This feature appeared in the May 30 edition of the K-State Sports Extra.

By Mark Janssen

It will be called “Gene Keady Way” located in Larned, Kansas.  

This community of 4,000-plus is located just to the southwest of Great Bend in central Kansas and is honoring the former Kansas State athlete with the naming of the street in his honor where he was raised by his parents, Mary Helen and Lloyd Gibson Keady.  

Ceremonies will take place on June 8 as part of Larned’s annual Santa Fe Trail Days celebration, which 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. I love my hometown and it is terrific to be honored in this way by the Larned community,” said Keady. “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.”

At Kansas State, Keady was a lettermen in three sports: football, baseball, and track. In the summer of 1958, Keady graduated from K-State with a B.S. in biological sciences and physical education. He later coached basketball at Beloit High School and Hutchinson Community College within the state of Kansas.

A six-time National Coach of the Year, a Purdue and Big Ten luminary, and the Special Assistant/Advisor for St. John’s men’s basketball since 2010 under former assistant coach Steve Lavin, Keady will be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame this November.

“It is a great privilege to be able to give recognition to a ‘hometown boy.’  Gene Keady has, over his lifetime and coaching tenure, shown the character and hard-working values on which he was raised,” said Larned Mayor Robert Pivonka. “To be able to designate Third Street as ‘Gene Keady Way’ will be an honor for the citizens of Larned and Pawnee County.”

One of the most respected coaches in the history of college basketball,  Keady, who spent 27 seasons at the helm of the Purdue and Western Kentucky programs and won 550 NCAA Division I games – with more than 800 career wins at all levels – currently serves the Red Storm as Special Assistant/Advisor.

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.

On Sunday, Nov. 24, Keady will be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame at the Midland Theatre in Kansas City as part of a three-day celebration of college basketball. 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.

Each of Keady’s seven former assistants-now-turned-active-head-coaches have had incredible success, including Lavin, Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt), Matt Painter (Purdue), Cuonzo Martin (Tennessee), Bruce Weber (Kansas State), Linc Darner (Florida Southern) and Alan Major (Charlotte). In 2012-13, Lavin went 17-16, Stallings was 16-17, Painter was 15-17, Martin went 20-13, Weber – now at Kansas State – went 27-8, Major was 21-12 and Darner went 27-6 for a combined record of 143-89 (.616).