Friday, March 14, 2008

Kevin Keatts- Championship = Happiness

Kevin Keatts is the head coach at the best basketball prep school in the nation. Hargrave Military Academy (VA) is number one, and there is no question about it. Keatts' squad won the Prep National Championships title game on March 6, 2008 at Fordham University in New York, completing an undefeated season and defeating Findlay College Prep (NV) to claim the national title. While some of his players were cutting down the net, Coach Keatts took a few minutes to chat with me.

NB: [That was] big victory out there, you guys won the national championship. What does that mean for your program and [for] you as a head coach?
KK: It’s good, and I’m happy for the kids. Certainly our focus is just trying to get kids, and make sure they make it academically, and be ready when they go to college, but this was a special group of kids and I’m very happy for them. Don’t get me wrong, we’re happy as a program, but I’m glad for the kids because they worked hard this year.

NB: As a program, what do you think is a bigger accomplishment, [winning the] national championship or [having an] undefeated season? . . . You guys did both.
KK: I don’t know, we’ve never been undefeated before, so that’s pretty special, to . . . beat everybody that’s on your schedule. So, I’m happy, and listen, we played a great Findlay team. They fought to the end, they were undefeated coming in. This whole tournament had eight teams that could win it, and we made some plays and we got lucky, and we won it.

NB: In the second season of this national championship tournament, what’s your opinion on it? What do you think about this idea of crowning an official national champion?
KK: I think it’s great because you get to play it out on the court. When I first came back from Marshall--I coached for a couple years--we won a mythical national championship. . . . We were 25-1 [and] we finished number one, but we never played it out on the court, and I think [this is] a great deal.

NB: You guys are losing a lot of players. How are you going top try to keep this team on the level its playing at right now for next season?
KK: I have no idea. I’ll worry about that later.

NB: And about this game, how’d you guys pull through in the end when Findlay was coming back?
KK: You know what, we just . . . did some good things, we worked, and the kids, they refused to lose, and certainly they stepped up and did some good things, so we finished the game.

NB: Do you have any goals to get back to the college level?
KK: I’m happy. I’m happy. I’m really happy where I’m at.

Clearly winning the national title has made Hargrave Head Coach Kevin Keatts happy, but not just for himself, for his program, and his players. The school certainly deserves the championship, and with a great guy as the coach in Kevin Keatts, you've got to be happy for everyone involved with the program. Hargrave will lose a lot of talent, but the team should remain competitive. After all, a happy coach and happy players can go a long way.

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