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Dear B-A: Don’t impeach Keech

June 15, 2008
The Altoona Mirror
The Bellwood-Antis School Board and certain denouncers of Tim Keech should be the ones humiliated.

Their ignorance toward the truth behind the Bellwood-Antis basketball program and their fallacious accusations have frustrated me. How many of the naysayers have attended a practice with coach Keech, worked for him under the elementary basketball program and have played in his program?

They are few and far between. So why has the district decided to open his position? Unfortunately, it is the result of a few overly concerned parents and spectators who only see the critical side of coach Keech.

There is no doubt when attending a Bellwood game, that you notice the loud clapping of hands followed by screams coming from coach Keech. Most are startled by his confrontational coaching style, but if you listen to what he is saying, he conveys the same things that other coaches do; he just makes sure he has your attention.

While this style may be frowned upon by some parents and players who can’t handle constructive criticism, it is one that builds character. As a former player, even though Keech may sometimes get very worked up and seems to degrade a player, he never does so intentionally.

Coach Keech would not yell derogatory comments that were intended on humiliation. He would be correcting you in an in-your-face way to make sure you knew what you did wrong. If he ever did feel that his comment was inappropriate, he would definitely apologize to you later.

To put it bluntly, through the years at Bellwood, there have always been a few people who frowned upon coach Keech because they thought he screamed too much and degraded his athletes publicly, but most of all didn’t give their kid enough playing time.

After complaining among themselves and gathering a few powerful members, they have somehow, along with certain faculty changes, been able to swing their power to impeach Mr. Keech.

If Bellwood loses coach Keech, it will be a scar to the program and to the school district. Mr. Keech, like many of the other great coaches at Bellwood, has put his life into making not only a successful program, but also instilling values which help individuals to succeed in the real world.

Isn’t that what high school athletics is supposed to be about — teamwork, perseverance, and building character?

I speak on behalf on myself and my two older brothers, who played under coach Keech, and the numerous other supporters who see through the facetious assault which he should never have had to face.

Anthony J. DelGrosso


(Editor’s note: The writer is a 2006 graduate of Bellwood-Antis High School).

Opposing scorekeeper impressed

I have been the scorekeeper for the Huntingdon Bearcat boys basketball team for over 20 years. A few years ago, Mount Union and Bellwood-Antis played a playoff game in the Huntingdon gymnasium. I was the official scorekeeper.

I don’t remember whether it was a league championship game or a district playoff game. Nor do I remember who won. But what I remember most is the class exhibited by the Bellwood-Antis coach, Tim Keech.

Before the start of the game, it was brought to the attention of the game officials that a Mount Union player only needed a few points to reach the coveted 1,000-point plateau.

It was decided that after the player scored his milestone point, the officials would call a timeout so the player could be duly honored. The officials never had the opportunity to do this.

Immediately after the Mount Union player scored the needed points, coach Keech called a timeout. He called the timeout not to rally his troops, but to stop the game so the Mount Union player could be recognized.

Even after the officials told Keech he didn’t have to be charged with the timeout, he refused the offer.

I have seen a lot of basketball games over the last 20-plus years, but I will never forget the outstanding display of sportsmanship exhibited by Tim Keech.

Coaches and players represent the school and how they act reflects on the school district.

Tim Keech is a class act, and Bellwood-Antis should be glad he’s their coach.

Rick Kalos


Keech teaches values

Playing sports can teach kids great life lessons like discipline, respect, and responsibility — but kids need guidance in these areas.

These life lessons can help to develop the individuals that society cannot get enough of, and young men that the world needs more of. As former players and parents of former players and boosters of coach Tim Keech, it is fairly easy to say that no other coach is a better inspirer or molder of these characteristics than he.

Coach Keech has taught his players how to be disciplined basketball players, but more importantly, how to be disciplined young men off the court.

Aside from helping to develop his players with valuable life lessons, coach Keech is one of the most successful coaches in Bellwood-Antis basketball history. He can get the most out of his players. He has allowed players to succeed far past their athletic capabilities. In his eight seasons as coach, he has won both a Juniata Valley League and a District 6 Class AA title.

On top of that, he has had numerous teams in contention for both of those titles almost every year he has been coach. It is coach Keech who has helped to inspire his players to reach these levels. He works his tail off.

When considering the applicants for the varsity boys basketball coaching position, I would ask the B-A board to consider how highly coach Keech’s former players think of him, and most likely, how highly his current players will think of him in the near future.

His enthusiasm and love for the game far exceeds any other coach. His love of the Bellwood-Antis basketball program and for his current and past players is indescribable.

Coach Tim Keech has helped to develop a successful basketball program, but more importantly, successful young men. When deciding on the position, please consider a quote from the legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski, ‘‘Parents can really help, but they can also really hinder the development of their youngsters.’’

We highly recommend that the BAHS board and administration continues to retain coach Keech as varsity basketball coach.

Don Beaver and family


Curve making adjustments

A few people have written in stating that they are not attending Altoona Curve games due to high gas prices, and they feel the Curve needs to reduce their prices on food and tickets to compensate.

Have you looked at the schedule or heard the promotions on the radio? They have worked hard to try to offset the gas prices. They have $1 hot dog nights and half-price Curve burger nights.

They have reduced tickets some evenings. They have package prices that include four seats, four hot dogs and four drinks for $40. They had the $5 Curve ‘‘economic stimulus plan’’ gift card they gave to the first 1000 fans one evening.

So before you complain about such things, you best have the facts.

The Curve have adapted to make it easier for us all. And what’s wrong with eating at home first? Then come in and buy a $5 general admission seat and enjoy real quality time with your family watching the great sport of baseball. What could be better on a warm summer evening?

Dawn Dibert


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