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

Playing career

Keene graduated from Oregon State Universitymarker in 1921, where he was a pitcher on the baseball team, and was chosen as team captain in his junior year.

Coaching career

After graduating from Oregon State, Keene signed on with Willamette Universitymarker's athletic department, where he would eventually coach three sports: football for 17 years, baseball for 16 years, and basketball for 11 years. 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, Hawaiimarker, 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 Harbormarker. The players, now stranded in Hawaii, were enlisted to string barbed wire on Waikiki Beachmarker 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 Franciscomarker 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.

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. During his term, he oversaw construction of the University's two major sports facilities: Gill Coliseummarker in 1949 and Parker Stadiummarker (later renamed Reser Stadiummarker) in 1953. Keene was President of the Pacific Coast Conference Athletics Directors Association and served on the executive committee of the NCAA.

Legacy

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 Famemarker in 1982 for his coaching, and the Oregon State University Sports Hall of Fame in 1991 for his service as athletic director. He died in Corvallismarker on August 24 1977.

References


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