Spec Keene

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Spec Keene
Roy Spec Keene 1928.JPG
Keene in 1928
Sport(s) Football, basketball, baseball
Biographical details
Born (1894-07-01)July 1, 1894
Died August 24, 1977(1977-08-24) (aged 83)
Corvallis, Oregon
Playing career
c. 1920 Oregon State
Position(s) Pitcher
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1926–1942 Willamette
1926–1937 Willamette
1942–1943 Willamette
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1947–1964 Oregon State
Head coaching record
Overall 84–51–6 (football)
159–100 (basketball)
Accomplishments and honors
9 Northwest Conference (1929, 1934–1938, 1940–1942)

7 Northwest Conference (1927, 1929–1931, 1933, 1937, 1943)
"Roy Keene" redirects here. For the Irish football player and manager, see Roy Keane.

Roy S. "Spec" Keene (July 1, 1894 – August 24, 1977) was a football, baseball, and basketball coach at Willamette University and an athletic director at Oregon State University.

Playing career[edit]

Keene graduated from Oregon State University in 1921, where he was a pitcher on the baseball team, and was chosen as team captain in his junior year.[1]

Coaching career[edit]

After graduating from Oregon State, Keene signed on with Willamette University's athletic department, where he coached three sports: football for 17 years, baseball for 16 years, and basketball for 11 years.[2] Combined, Keene's teams won or shared 19 Northwest Conference championships, and in the 1929–30 academic year, each of his three teams were undefeated and won conference championships.[2] Keene is considered the "father of Willamette athletics" and was a charter member of the University's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991.[2]

Attack on Pearl Harbor[edit]

On December 6, 1941, Keene's Willamette football team was in Honolulu, Hawaii, where they lost a game to Hawaii, 20–6. The following day, the players and fans had intended to do some sightseeing around Hawaii, but instead, were witness to Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.[3] The players, now stranded in Hawaii, were enlisted to string barbed wire on Waikiki Beach and were given rifles and assigned to protect the beach and later the hills above Honolulu.[3] Keene, along with future Oregon governor Douglas McKay, who had traveled with the football team, finally arranged passage home for the players on December 19 on an overloaded luxury liner, the SS President Coolidge.[3] The team arrived in San Francisco on Christmas Day after taking a circuitous route to avoid Japanese submarines. In 1997, the entire team was inducted into Willamette's Athletic Hall of Fame.[4]

Return to Oregon State[edit]

Following World War II, in 1947, Keene returned to Oregon State to serve as athletic director. He served in that post for 26 years, the longest tenure of any Oregon State athletic director.[5] During his term, he oversaw construction of the University's two major sports facilities: Gill Coliseum in 1949 and Parker Stadium (later renamed Reser Stadium) in 1953.[5] Keene was President of the Pacific Coast Conference Athletics Directors Association and served on the executive committee of the NCAA.[5]


In 1989, Willamette University built a new baseball stadium, which they named Roy S. "Spec" Keene Stadium. In addition to the Willamette University Athletic Hall of Fame, Keene was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1982 for his coaching,[6] and the Oregon State University Sports Hall of Fame in 1991 for his service as athletic director. He died in Corvallis on August 24, 1977.

Head coaching record[edit]


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Willamette Bearcats (Northwest Conference) (1926–1942)
1926 Willamette 2–4 1–2 4th
1927 Willamette 3–3–2 2–2–1 3rd
1928 Willamette 3–5 2–3 T–4th
1929 Willamette 6–2 5–0 1st
1930 Willamette 5–3 4–1 2nd
1931 Willamette 5–4 3–2 T–2nd
1932 Willamette 4–4–1 4–1–1 2nd
1933 Willamette 6–3 4–1 2nd
1934 Willamette 8–1 5–0 1st
1935 Willamette 5–2 4–0 1st
1936 Willamette 7–2–1 6–0 1st
1937 Willamette 6–3 5–0 1st
1938 Willamette 5–3 4–1 T–1st
1939 Willamette 3–4–2 3–1–1 2nd
1940 Willamette 4–5 4–0 1st
1941 Willamette 8–2 5–0 1st
1942 Willamette 4–1 4–0 1st
Willamette: 84–51–6 65–14–3
Total: 84–51–6
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title


Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Willamette Bearcats (Northwest Conference) (1926–1937)
1926–27 Willamette 14–6 10–2 T–1st
1927–28 Willamette 13–7 7–2 2nd
1928–29 Willamette 10–4 7–1 T–1st
1929–30 Willamette 14–4 8–0 1st
1930–31 Willamette 15–3 10–1 1st
1931–32 Willamette 16–12 7–3 3rd
1932–33 Willamette 18–3 9–1 1st
1933–34 Willamette 9–13 6–4 3rd
1934–35 Willamette 7–17 4–5 5th
1935–36 Willamette 10–16 3–5 5th
1936–37 Willamette 22–6 10–0 1st
Willamette Bearcats (Northwest Conference) (1942–1943)
1942–43 Willamette 11–9 5–1 T–1st
Willamette: 159–100 86–25
Total: 159–100

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


  1. ^ "Beaver eClips: Amazing Beavers, 1900–1930". OSU Alumni Association. February 22, 2002. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  2. ^ a b c "Willamette Athletics Hall of Fame". Willamette University. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  3. ^ a b c "Shock and Resolve: Oregon Reacts to Pearl Harbor". Oregon State Archives. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  4. ^ "Willamette Athletics Hall of Fame". Willamette University. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  5. ^ a b c "Oregon State University Sports Hall of Fame". OSUBeavers.com. Archived from the original on 2015-11-20. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  6. ^ "Coaching". Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Archived from the original on September 26, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-14.