Monday, May 6, 2013

By The Numbers -- Country Day's Keener Steps Down

When looking at Keener's body of work in his time at County Day, the numbers speak for themselves.
- 677. His 677 wins is second most in MHSAA history
- 9. Keener won nine state championships while in charge of the Country Day program, most recently this past season, and won those state titles in a number of different ways, whether it was with his team's that featured a Battier or a Webber, or his team with Ray McCallum and Amir Williams. Or this past season, where there wasn't a true star, or even one of the big near seven footers protecting the paint, but Keener and his staff, still managed to coach their way to a state title.
- 35. Keener spent 35 years as the head coach of the Yellowjackets and averaged nearly 20 wins per season.
- Zero. That's the number of state championships the Country Day basketball program won before Keener's arrival.
- 25. The number of games that Desert Mountain, the team in Arizona that Keener will take over for won last season on its way to an appearance in the state semifinals, so it's safe to say that Keener will still have a lot to work with out west.
- Lastly, there's not an exact number for this, but the number of college and NBA players Keener helped produce from Country Day is too high to keep track of, which is a tribute to the job that Keener and his has done in the past 35 years.

The timing was right for Keener to leave Country Day for a number of different reasons, but most importantly, it was for family reasons because Keener and his wife are heading to Arizona to be closer to their son who is in Arizona for college and for the job at Desert Mountain was probably too good to pass up. Also, it's very fitting that arguably the most successful coach in MHSAA history gets to go out on top after winning his ninth state title less than two months ago.

Country Day cannot replace Keener, the amount of wins and state titles the Yellowjackets had in his time wont be matched for a very long time, and expecting Keener's successor to do so would be unfair. However, the best person to be Keener's successor is his top assistant, Rick Palmer, who is one of the top X's and O's coaches in the state.

What will help Palmer's case in the Country Day coaching search is the support he will have from the returning Country Day players as well as the support from the player's families. But possibly the most important support that Palmer will likely have is the support from Keener, who will likely give his full endorsement to his top assistant, and support like that cannot go ignored in the coaching search, and it likely won't.

Country Day should take its time to find its next coach and should open up its coaching search to a number of in-state and possibly out of state applicants. The list of qualified coaches trying to land the job that is arguably the best coaching job in the state of Michigan will be long and there will be several names that should be taken under serious consideration. Names that could fly under the radar for the job at Country Day could be Mike Massucci, who is the current head coach at Royal Oak, and Fred Massey, who played a big role in the development of several of County Day's big men. 

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