LOS ANGELES – Purdue University’s all time winningest basketball coach, Gene Keady, has been named this year’s recipient of the John R. Wooden “Legends of Coaching” honor, the Award’s chairman and founder, Richard “Duke” Llewellyn, announced today. Keady will join an exclusive group of coaches to receive the Wooden honor including North Carolina’s Dean Smith, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Arizona’s Lute Olson, Louisville’s Denny Crum, and last year’s honoree, Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim.
“Gene is one of the most successful and highly respected coaches in college basketball and we are delighted to present him with our ‘Legend of Coaching’ award,” said Llewellyn. “Gene transformed Purdue into one of college basketball’s elite programs. The character and discipline he builds in his athletes both on and off the court is a representation of the attributes that Coach Wooden advocated throughout his career.”
The Wooden Award Committee adopted the “Legends of Coaching” Award in 1999 to recognize the lifetime achievements of coaches that exemplify Coach Wooden’s high standards of coaching success and personal achievement. When selecting the individual, the Committee considers character, coaching philosophy, graduation rate of his student-athletes, success on the court, and his identification with the goals of the John R. Wooden Award. Keady will receive the award Saturday, April 7, 2007 during the Wooden Award Ceremony at The Los Angeles Athletic Club.
Keady retired in March 2005 after going 512-270 in 25 seasons (1980-2005) with the Purdue Boilermakers. He earned “National Coach of the Year” honors six times (second-most by any coach) and Big Ten coach of the year a record seven times, including three straight years from 1994 to 1996. He coached the Boilermakers to six Big Ten championships and finished in the top 10 of the final Associated Press rankings six times. On an international level, Keady assisted in the selection process for the 1984 and 1988 U.S. Olympic teams and was an assistant coach on the U.S. team that captured the gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. In 2005-06 Keady had a brief stint as an assistant coach in the National Basketball Association with the Toronto Raptors.