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Keeney: 'It was one of the best jobs that I ever had'

Brad Keeney (click for larger version)
August 24, 2011 - The Wildcats are looking for a new head wrestling coach after Brad Keeney resigned this past summer to take care of a family medical situation.

Signing on with the district in 2009, he spent the last two years teaching special education by day and helped out with the Wildcats wrestling program by night.

"It was one of the best jobs that I ever had," Keeney said. "The honor of being a part of that community and that program was something that developed me as a professional and gave me the priorities of what is important when it comes to education, when it comes to coaching and developing kids into successful, achieving adults."

"Oxford gave that to me and I will forever be grateful for that," he added.

Keeney moved back to his hometown of Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania in July to be close to his family.

"I had to miss quite a bit of school at the end and decided in July we couldn't swing it anymore," he said. "Family is more important than my job satisfaction."

He will assume the position of head wrestling coach at Red Line High School and will be a special education instructor at his former high school, Susquehannock.

When it came time to search for a coaching position in wrestling, he was looking for an atmosphere similar to Oxford in terms of attitude about athletics, academics and family atmosphere.

He said he found that at Red Line and was hired for the wrestling head coach position on Thursday, August 18.

Even with all of the success Oxford's program had last year, it was the family atmosphere of the program he was going to remember the most.

"The success was nice, but it did not even come close to the feeling you got just being a part of that community," Keeney said. "I have been a part of programs before that was loose. There were no tight bonds between parents and students, between students and coaches."

For Keeney, coaching in Oxford was about more than just winning and losing, it was about family.

"In Oxford, you had that family feel...it's hard to find. The support, having 70 kids on your wrestling team, that is unheard of. (Novi Detroit) Catholic Central has that many kids, but they are in a different situation than we are. We are a public school putting that many kids on the wrestling team, that is something special," he added.

According to Keeney, a lot of times kids join a program because they want to be a part of that family atmosphere.

Keeney spent his first year in Oxford as an assistant coach.

In 2010, he was selected to lead the Wildcats to glory, and under his watch, Oxford went on to claim it's first ever wrestling state championship.

"Paul McDevitt did a great job of building that program before I got there, and I got to continue on it and put my piece of personality on it," he said.

He added Oxford's students were some of the best he has ever worked with and it was going to be the kids he was going to miss the most.

"I am going to miss the guys I worked with, I'm going to miss the friendships I developed with the other staff members, but most of all I am going to miss the kids," he said.

"The relationships you build with them and then as you see them, even in two years, the changes that they can make and the maturity that they gain and definitely with some of my students, the focus of doing something with their life, but that is what I am going to miss," he added.

He also liked Oxford's emphasis placed on keeping athletics important.

"You don't see that in every school district. It's taken seriously, and if you look at our symbol, the triangle, it's part of the three," he said.

"It gave me the opportunity to foster the skills students get out of athletics that are extremely important."

Oxford Athletic Director Mike Watson expressed in an e-mail that the district had yet to name a replacement, but was hoping to do so in the early fall.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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