The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX


January 25, 2014

K.C. Keeler: ‘I’m here to win championships ... National championships’


K.C. Keeler took a phone call from retired NFL coach Dick Vermeil after Sam Houston State announced its most recent coaching hire Thursday.
The congratulatory call led to a brief exchange about football in the state of Texas and Vermeil said that Keeler would be “living the dream” of a college coach.
During Friday’s press conference held at the Ron Mafrige Field House, Keeler admitted that life with his family had been comfortable since he last coached in 2012, yet he had accepted the lead position at Sam Houston because of how much he missed the job.
Some time around the end of September and the beginning of October, Keeler’s wife Janice told him it was time to get back into coaching. Janice Keeler is just about as hands on with her husband’s teams off the field as he is with them on it, helping coordinate gatherings and events.
They missed the relationships with the players, coaching staffs and communities.
But in order to live the dream referenced by Vermeil, who as former head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles cut Keeler in 1982, Sam Houston State has to win championships.
The Bearkats’ 15th football coach in school history had no qualms with being frank about it.
“I’m going to set the bar very high,” Keeler said. “That’s who I am. I’m not going to make excuses. We’re here to be the best.”
That was the message Keeler delivered to existing Sam Houston State players just an hour after Friday’s press conference began.
Senior running back Keshawn Hill said the concern since former head coach Willie Fritz left for Georgia Southern earlier this month was finding established leadership to keep things rolling.
“Basically, his whole mind-set is all about winning,” Hill said. “I’ve never heard a coach say that all he wants to do is be the best. That’s what I’ve always felt like in my own mind so I feel really good about that. I’m excited.”

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