K. C. Keeler has been named as Sam Houston State’s 15th head football coach.
He brings an overall record of 174 victories, 73 losses and one tie as a head coach to Huntsville.
“This is a tremendously exciting opportunity for me and my family,” Keeler said. “We’re coming to an university that not only has enjoyed outstanding football success recently but also is growing as an academic institution.”
Keeler’s 2003 Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens squad won the FCS national championship in 2003. Delaware reached the FCS Championship Game in 2007 and 2010.
“I am extremely pleased with Athletic Director Bobby Williams’s decision to offer our head football coaching position to K.C. Keeler,” Sam Houston President Dana Gibson said. “Coach Keeler has compiled impressive credentials for his strong integrity, meaningful involvement in the community, commitment to the success of student-athletes and the ability to lead championship teams. I am confident that he will maintain the high standards we have come to expect for our Bearkat football program.”
In Keeler’s 11 seasons at Delaware (2002 to 2012), the Blue Hens rolled up an 86-52 record. Delaware went 11-3 in the program’s four trips to the FCS playoffs.
“One of the things that jumps out at you first is Coach Keeler’s record at the FCS level. Not only has he won a national championship but he has returned to the championship game two other times,” Sam Houston Director of Athletics Bobby Williams said. “He has a track record of building a program and then continuing that success.”
At Rowan University in Glassboro, N. J., Keeler produced an 88-21-1 record from 1993 to 2001 that included seven NCAA Division III playoff appearances including five trips to the National Championship game. His teams posted a 21-7 record in NCAA Division III playoff action.
“I knew a little bit about Sam Houston before visiting for the interview. But after doing some research about the University, I was amazed to find that Sam Houston is a hidden gem,” Keeler said. “Meeting with the administration, the athletic staff and members of the university community, I was so impressed. With an ever-growing enrollment, outstanding academic and athletic programs and an energized alumni base, Sam Houston a perfect fit for me.”
Keeler was a four-sport letterman at Emmaus, Pa., High School. He earned all-league honors and was football team captain as a tight end and linebacker.
He played linebacker for head coach Tubby Raymond at Delaware from 1978 to 1980, helping lead the Blue Hens to the 1979 NCAA Division II national championship. In 1980, he signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.
At Delaware, Keeler directed the Blue Hens to Atlantic 10 titles in 2003 and 2004 and the Colonial Athletic Association championship in 2010.
Among Keeler’s coaching honors are selections as AFCA FCS National Coach of the Year, Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year, Maxwell Club Tri-State Coach of the Year and the All-America Football Foundation Johnny Vaught Head Coach Award.
“Keeler coached in the Atlantic 10 and the CAA, widely considered as one of the strongest conferences in FCS football,” Williams said. “He made the Delaware program one that was always in the national FCS conversation. Between my work on the NCAA Selection Committee and return trips to the FCS National Championship Game in Frisco I had the opportunity to meet Coach Keeler on several occasions and was always impressed.”
Keeler began his coaching career as an assistant at Amherst College in Massachusetts in 1981, then moved to Rowan University in 1986. He was named head coach at Rowan in 1993.
The Profs won four New Jersey Athletic Conference championships and finished as runner-up in the league twice in Keeler’s nine seasons.
Keeler coached five NFL draft picks at Delaware including Super Bowl XLVII MVP quarterback Joe Flacco. He has tutored 71 All-America players and 21 student-athletes who have earned either national or district CoSIDA Academic All-America honors.
His final season at Delaware, nine former Blue Hens were in NFL camps.
Kurt Charles “K. C.” Keeler was born July 26, 1959, in Emmaus, Pa. He and his wife Janice are the parents of daughter Kate and son Jackson.
“Becoming part of the Southland Conference and coming to Texas also is an exciting opportunity,” Keeler said. “To know that within a three-and-a-half hour radius of my front door step is enough talent to win a national championship is tremendous. My wife and I are headed to Huntsville and are ready to hit the ground running with recruiting.”