RCW: From the office of ... Larry Keating
Kansas special assistant to the athletics director Larry Keating knows what it takes to get a basketball team to the highest level and has worked diligently for the last 13 years to craft a hoops schedule that helps Jayhawk head coach Bill Self prepare his team for a deep tournament run. Keating schedules men’s and women’s basketball, as well as football opponents, and serves as a resource for the other Jayhawk teams among his other administrative duties. A deflated basketball from the 1989 NCAA Championship game sits on the shelf in his Wagnon Student-Athlete Center office, a reminder of a long history of basketball success.
“I went to Seton Hall (as athletics director) in 1985 and they had never been to the tournament, they were the worst team in the league. In 1988 we made the tournament for the first time in the history of the school, lost in the second round, then in 1989 we went to the Final Four. I took the ball after the game. As I recall, it was actually just rolling around on the floor. We lost in overtime – we had the last shot at the buzzer and didn’t make it. Michigan went crazy and the ball was just there so I took it into the locker room.
“The reason I deflated it was John Thompson had a ball in his office that was deflated and used is as a psychological tool. (Editor’s note: Thompson’s deflated ball reportedly represented a person without an education being as useful as a ball without air, a reminder to his players to take advantage of their opportunities at the university). I’ve had that, literally, since 1989.
“At Stonehill College (Keating’s alma mater and first basketball coaching job) we made the NCAA Division II Tournament for the first time in the school’s history when I was coaching, then I went to Hofstra and we made the men’s NCAA Division I basketball tournament for the first time in back-to-back years. In 1979, when the head coach got let go, I ended up at Adelphi University, a Division II school, as the athletic director. In 1985, I got the AD job at Seton Hall and we went to the tournament for the first time at that school. I think we went like six out of seven years and were preseason No. 1 in the country in 1992.”