INDIANAPOLIS – Longtime Purdue men’s head basketball coach Gene Keady has been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame announced its class of 2023 on Saturday morning in Houston as part of the NCAA Men’s Final Four weekend.
“Without people around you, you can’t achieve this achievement,” Keady said. “It’s about us, not me and I really appreciate being honored for this. It’s the biggest honor I’ve ever achieved.”
Keady spent 25 seasons in West Lafayette winning 512 games to become the program’s all-time winningest coach. He had 14 20-win seasons, including six with 25 or more victories.
He led the Boilermakers to 17 NCAA Tournament appearances with two trips to the Elite Eight in 1994 and 2000.
Purdue won six Big Ten championships under Keady’s leadership, including three straight outright from 1994-1996. He won conference coach of the year a record seven times and national coach of the year six times.
Keady played three sports at Kansas State: football, baseball and track and field. The Steelers drafted him in the 19th round of the 1958 NFL Draft. His pro football career didn’t take off, so he returned to Kansas and began coaching basketball at Beloit High School.
“You just kind of go along with the flow and try to do what’s right for yourself to get your degree and your family. That’s why I stayed in basketball and it’s warmer, too, by the way,” Keady joked. “It was one of those things where I did it because I loved it and I was pretty good at it. I had great people around me.”
He earned his master’s degree while at Beloit, then moved on to the collegiate ranks and Hutchinson Junior College. He was an assistant at Arkansas under Eddie Sutton for four seasons and the head coach at Western Kentucky for two years, before Purdue hired him in 1980.
Several successful Division I head coaches worked as an assistant for Keady, including the Boilermakers’ current head coach Matt Painter, who also played for him from 1989-93.
He retired from Purdue after the 2005 season, handing over the program to Painter. He finished his coaching career with stints as an assistant for the Toronto Raptors and St. John’s.
Joining Keady in the class of 2023 are Gregg Popovich, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Dwyane Wade, Becky Hammon, Jim Valvano, Gary Blair, Division III coach David Hixon, junior college coach Gene Bess and the 1976 U.S. Olympic women’s team.
Enshrinement weekend will be in Springfield, Mass. on August 11-12.