JONESBORO (8/25/10) – The Arkansas State Athletics Department hosted its annual Student-Athlete Welcome Back event Wednesday at the Fowler Center and Tomlinson Stadium, bringing together all members of its 16 NCAA sports for a reception, dinner and evening of entertainment.
Early during the reception, Director of Athletics Dr. Dean Lee welcomed the Red Wolves back for the 2010-11 academic year and athletic seasons. ASU's student-athletes also took advantage of the opportunity to hear a motivational speech from guest speaker and ASU alumnus Bill Keedy. In addition to Lee and Keedy, the students also heard from ASU Interim Chancellor Dr. Dan Howard and Associate Athletic Director for Student Services Stacey Willmott. ASU Director of Corporate Sales Brad Bobo served as the master of ceremonies.
Following the reception at the Fowler Center, the student-athletes made their way over to Tomlinson Stadium to enjoy a barbeque dinner and additional entertainment provided by the athletic department.
"This is a great event to welcome all our student-athletes back on campus," said Lee. "It's always great for our students to hear from someone who has been in the same situation they are, but especially from a legendary high school coach and outstanding ambassador of Arkansas State University such as Coach Keedy. It encourages our student-athletes to get in the right frame of mind as they prepare for another great year both academically and athletically."
Arkansas State Athletics is coming off one of its most successful years in a decade with a fourth-place finish in the Sun Belt Conference's Bubas Cup all-sports standings, and has historically placed approximately 50 percent of its student-athletes on the Athletic Director's Honor Roll.
Keedy is a 1963 graduate of Newport High School and a 1969 graduate of Arkansas State University, where he received a BSE Degree and a Masters of Science in Education. He returned to Newport in 1977 and enjoyed a 19-year career as the Greyhounds' head football coach. He compiled a career record of 199-55-4, including 175-48-3 at Newport, and was named conference Coach of the Year 17 times by the Arkansas High School Coaches Association (AHSCA). He won 17 conference championships and reached the state football playoffs 19 times. His Greyhound teams won state championships in 1981 and 1991 and were state runners-up in 1988 and 1989. His teams reached the semi-finals eight times.
During his career as head coach and athletic director, Keedy was named the Newport Independent Man of the Year in 1989, inducted into the AHSCA Hall of Fame in 1990 and received the Lowell Manning Award for Outstanding Coach of the Year in 1995-96. As a lasting tribute, the NHS athletic facility was named the Bill Keedy, Jr. Athletic Training Facility in 1994.
After teaching and coaching for 38 years, Keedy has been color commentator for the ASU football games and remains an active supporter of ASU Athletics. In 2007 he was honored with the ASU Distinguished Alumni Award and just this year received the Ambassador Award from the Newport Area Chamber of Commerce.