SFA Selects Kyle Keller as New Lumberjack Basketball Head Coach
The rumors started swirling Sunday and this afternoon, the SFA Athletic Department has made it official. Texas A&M Assistant Coach Kyle Keller has been selected as the new Lumberjack Head Coach.
The following is from the official press release from SFA Athletics:
Kyle Keller has been named the 12th coach of the Stephen F. Austin men’s basketball team, SFA Director of Athletics Robert Hill announced Monday afternoon.
Keller’s formal introduction to the Stephen F. Austin campus community will occur at 1:15 p.m. on Friday, April 8, inside the Baker Patillo Student Center’s Grand Ballroom. The doors to the Grand Ballroom will open at 12:30 p.m., and all SFA fans and students are invited to attend the introductory press conference which will also be streamed nationwide on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
“Kyle brings a wealth of experience having worked for great coaches like Eddie Sutton, Bill Self and Billy Kennedy. This experience will fit well to continue our SFA basketball culture of winning championships and making NCAA tournament appearances,” Hill said. “He cares deeply for his players and is a wonderful husband and father. We are so happy he has agreed to become a Lumberjack. I look forward to having our fans and students get to know him.”
Last month, Keller wrapped up his fifth season as an assistant coach on head coach Billy Kennedy’s staff at Texas A&M, bringing his grand total of coaching experience to an even 25 years at locations also including Kansas, Oklahoma State, Louisiana Tech and Texas-San Antonio.
The final season of his half-decade of service on the Aggies’ bench also coincided with the squad’s return to the NCAA Tournament following a five-year absence. Led on the hardwood by the likes of Jalen Jones, Danuel House and a host of others, Texas A&M matched the program’s best run in the national tournament by advancing to the Sweet Sixteen for the third time ever and the first time since 2007.
His new assignment as the Lumberjacks’ head man is his first such job at the NCAA Division I level. Keller served as the head coach at Tyler Junior College for the 1997-98 and 1998-99 campaigns.
Keller’s name is one synonymous with success on the recruiting trail as the Dallas native has established a reputation of one of the nation’s best in that particular area. That standing was validated in a major way in 2015 when the Aggies roped in four of the top eight players in the state of Texas, giving the SEC program a consensus top-ten class. Since 2013, the tireless efforts on the part of Keller have resulted in seven ESPN Top 100 players inking with Texas A&M.
Some 21 former pupils of the long-tenured assistant have played or are currently playing in the NBA. A 13-year fixture on the sidelines in the solid Big 12 Conference before A&M’s move to the SEC, Keller has been a part of five conference titles, nine NCAA Tournament runs, three Elite Eight appearances and a trip to the Final Four in 2004.
During Keller’s tenure in College Station, the Aggies have seen 10 players garner all-conference accolades including a trio of First-Team All-SEC selections in Elston Turner in 2013, Danuel House in 2015 and Jalen Jones in 2016.
In his three seasons in Lawrence, Keller was on staff for 95 wins, three straight Big 12 regular-season championships (2009, 2010, 2011) and two Big 12 postseason championship titles (2010, 2011). KU entered the 2010 NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed and advanced to the Elite Eight. While he was on staff at Kansas, two Jayhawks were lottery picks in the NBA Draft (Cole Aldrich and Xavier Henry) while Sherron Collins also played in the league for the Charlotte Bobcats.
Prior to his stint with the Jayhawks, Keller served nine years on the Oklahoma State men's basketball staff under head coaches Eddie Sutton and Sean Sutton. As director of basketball operations and assistant coach at OSU, Keller helped in recruiting, coaching, scouting, academics and team travel. In Stillwater, Keller served as an assistant coach from 1999-2002, as the director of basketball operations from 2002-06 and assistant coach from 2006-08.
While at OSU, Keller was instrumental in the development of 11 all-conference performers, including All-Americans Tony Allen, John Lucas and Joey Graham. Keller has also coached numerous NBA players including the aforementioned All-Americans as well as Maurice Baker, Stephen Graham, Desmond Mason, Ivan McFarlin, Melvin Sanders at Oklahoma State and P.J. Brown and Kaniel Dickens during other coaching stints.
Keller was on staff for OSU's run to the 2004 Final Four, two Elite Eight teams in 2000 and 2004 and three Sweet 16 appearances. The Cowboys advanced to postseason play nine times, including six NCAA Tournaments during Keller's tenure. Additionally, OSU's 2006 recruiting class was ranked No. 1 by Rivals.com.
Keller started his coaching career on the Louisiana Tech staff from 1990-94 where the Bulldogs advanced to the postseason twice. From Ruston, he went to Tyler Junior College as an assistant coach the next two years, advancing to the regional playoffs and national tournament. He then served one season on staff at Texas-San Antonio (1996-97) before returning as head coach at Tyler JC.
A native of Dallas, Keller earned his bachelor's degree in business management from OSU in 1990 and his master's degree in human relations and supervision from Louisiana Tech in 1991. He was a student assistant coach as an undergrad at OSU, a staff which included current KU head coach Bill Self.
Keller is married to the former Chaunsea Olin, a native of Liberal, Kan. The couple has a daughter, Kenzie, and a son, Kemper.
He takes the place of Brad Underwood, who recently accepted the position of head men’s basketball coach at Oklahoma State.