Spec Keene

Spec Keene

College coach infobox
Name = Roy S. "Spec" Keene

imagesize = 120px
Caption = Keene in 1928
DateOfBirth = July 1 1894
Birthplace =
DateOfDeath = death date and age|1977|8|24|1894|7|1
Deathplace = Corvallis, Oregon
Sport = Football
Title = Head Coach
OverallRecord = 84-51-6
Awards =
Championships = Northwest Conference championship 1929, 1942
Player =
Years =
Team =
Position =
Coach = Y
CoachYears = 1926–1942
CoachTeams = Willamette

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

Playing career

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.cite web|url=http://alumni.oregonstate.edu/eclips/carry/feb22_2002.html|title=Beaver eClips: Amazing Beavers, 1900–1930|publisher=OSU Alumni Association|date=February 22 2002|accessdate=2007-09-14]

Coaching career

After graduating from Oregon State, Keene signed on with Willamette University's athletic department, where he would eventually coach three sports: football for 17 years, baseball for 16 years, and basketball for 11 years.cite web|url=http://www.willamette.edu/athletics/hall_of_fame/members/1991/|title=Willamette Athletics Hall of Fame|publisher=Willamette University|accessdate=2007-09-14] Combined, Keene's teams won or shared 19 Northwest Conference championships, and in the 1929-1930 academic year, each of his three teams were undefeated and won Conference championships. Keene is considered the "father of Willamette athletics" and was a charter member of the University's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991.

Attack on Pearl Harbor

On December 6 1941, Keene's football team was in Honolulu, Hawaii, where they lost a game to the University of 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.cite web|url=http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/exhibits/ww2/threat/pearl.htm|title=Shock and Resolve: Oregon Reacts to Pearl Harbor|publisher=Oregon State Archives|accessdate=2007-09-14] 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. 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". 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.cite web|url=http://www.willamette.edu/athletics/hall_of_fame/members/1997/|title=Willamette Athletics Hall of Fame|publisher=Willamette University|accessdate=2007-09-14]

Return to Oregon State

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.cite web|url=http://www.osubeavers.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=4700&KEY=&ATCLID=188614|publisher=OSUBeavers.com|title=Oregon State University Sports Hall of Fame|accessdate=2007-09-14] 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. Keene was President of the Pacific Coast Conference Athletics Directors Association and served on the executive committee of the NCAA.


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,cite web|url=http://www.oregonsportshall.com/inductee/roll/coaching.htm|title=Coaching|publisher=Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and Museum|accessdate=2007-09-14] 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.


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