K. C. Keeler
|Team||Sam Houston State|
July 26, 1959 |
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|2014–present||Sam Houston State|
|Head coaching record|
|Tournaments||21–7 (NCAA D-III playoffs)
17–7 (NCAA D-I-AA/FCS playoffs)
|Accomplishments and honors|
|1 NCAA Division I-AA national (2003)
4 NJAC (1993, 1995, 1997, 2001)
2 A-10 (2003–2004)
1 CAA (2010)
2 Southland (2014, 2016)
|Eddie Robinson Award (2016)
AFCA Coach of the Year (2010)
Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award (2010)
Kurt Charles "K. C." Keeler (born July 26, 1959) is an American football coach and former player. He is currently the head football coach at Sam Houston State University. He was the head football coach at the University of Delaware from 2002 to 2012. Keeler served as the head football coach at Rowan University from 1993 to 2001. His 2003 Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens squad won the NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship, and returned to the Division I Championship game in 2007 and 2010.
High school and college
Keeler played high school football at Emmaus High School in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. He went on to play collegiate football at the University of Delaware, where he was a linebacker from 1978 to 1980 under coach Tubby Raymond. He was a member of the 1979 Division II National Championship squad.
NFL and USFL
In 1980, Keeler signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League. He was one of the last players released during the 1980 pre-season. He later earned tryouts again with the Eagles (1982–83) and with the United States Football League's Philadelphia Stars (1983) and Jacksonville Bulls (1984).
Amherst and Rowan
Keeler began his coaching career as an assistant at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1981 and then at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey in 1986. He became Rowan head coach in the 1993 season, ending his tenure in 2001 with an 88–21–1 (.804) record and seven NCAA Division III playoff appearances. He was, however, 0–5 in NCAA Division III Football Championship Stagg Bowls at Rowan, losing by an average of 42.4 to 18.4.
After Raymond retired in 2002, Keeler was named the fourth Delaware head football coach in 62 years. He immediately brought a new offensive philosophy to the team, replacing its famed and historic Winged-T formation with a no-huddle, spread offense. Under Keeler, Delaware won its first national championship since 1979 and its first-ever Division I-AA title (in 2003) with a 15–1 record and a 149–23 total score in the four-game playoff series.
Keeler became as much of a celebrity in Delaware as Raymond. He was named "Delawarean of the Year" in 2004 by Delaware Today magazine and was listed as one of the top college football recruiters in the nation by American Football Monthly magazine. The (Wilmington) News Journal reported that Keeler was forced to hire an agent after the 2003 championship to help manage speaking engagements, guest appearances and private functions. His trademark sunglasses (which he also wore during night games) and wireless headgear were emulated with K.C. Keeler bobbleheads sold at games and local Newark, Delaware businesses.
Keeler often attacked criticism that I-AA/FCS programs are of lesser caliber than I-A. "We're the LSU; we're the Georgia, the Florida of Division I-AA," Keeler said in a 2004 interview with American Football Monthly. "We have every resource. There's some people who have better resources than we do, but in general, the college campus we have is in one of the greatest college towns in America, and the academics ... we led the nation last year in out-of-state applications, more than Michigan or Texas. But that's what this school has become. Everybody wants to come to school here."
On June 19, 2008, Keeler was granted a 10-year contract extension to keep him on as head coach of the Blue Hens through the 2017 season. However, following the 2012 season, in which his team posted a 5−6 record, Keeler was fired.
Sam Houston State
On January 23, 2014, Keeler was named the 15th head coach in Sam Houston State program history.
Head coaching record
|Rowan Profs (New Jersey Athletic Conference) (1993–2001)|
|1993||Rowan||11–2||5–0||1st||L NCAA Division III Championship|
|1995||Rowan||10–3–1||5–0||1st||L NCAA Division III Championship|
|1996||Rowan||10–3||4–1||2nd||L NCAA Division III Championship|
|1997||Rowan||11–1||5–0||1st||L NCAA Division III Semifinal|
|1998||Rowan||10–3||4–1||2nd||L NCAA Division III Championship|
|1999||Rowan||12–2||4–1||2nd||L NCAA Division III Championship|
|2001||Rowan||11–2||5–1||T–1st||L NCAA Division III Semifinal|
|Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens (Atlantic 10 Conference) (2002–2006)|
|2003||Delaware||15–1||8–1||T–1st||W NCAA Division I-AA Championship||1|
|2004||Delaware||9–4||7–1||T–1st (South)||L NCAA Division I-AA Quarterfinal||7|
|Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens (Colonial Athletic Association) (2007–2012)|
|2007||Delaware||11–4||5–3||T–3rd (South)||L FCS Championship game||2|
|2010||Delaware||12–3||6–2||T–1st||L FCS Championship game||2|
|Sam Houston State Bearkats (Southland Conference) (2014–present)|
|2014||Sam Houston State||11–5||7–1||T–1st||L FCS Semifinal||6|
|2015||Sam Houston State||11–4||7–2||2nd||L FCS Semifinal||3|
|2016||Sam Houston State||12–1||9–0||1st||L FCS Playoffs Quarterfinals||5|
|Sam Houston State:||34–10||23–3|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
Assistant coaches under K. C. Keeler who became NCAA head coaches:
- "Settling it on the field". Sports Illustrated. December 19, 2003. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
- "Head Coach K. C. Keeler". Udel.edu. June 15, 2010. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
- Purdum, David (September 2004). "His Own Man". American Football Monthly. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
- Tresolini, Kevin (January 7, 2013). "UD fires football coach K.C. Keeler". The News Journal. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
- Roepken, Corey (January 23, 2014). "Sam Houston State hires K.C. Keeler as head football coach". Houston Chronicle.