GOSHEN — Father Time has done nothing to alter the trademark scowl or slow down the quick wit of Gene Keady.
Both were evident Thursday evening as the former Purdue basketball coaching icon appeared before the Purdue Club of Elkhart County.
Keady, who will turn 75 Saturday, flashed his form prior to his speaking engagement at The Bread and Chocolate.
Keady, now an assistant coach at St. John’s, recently recorded a hole-in-one in Las Vegas. He did a double-take, with the familiar facial gesture he’s known for, when this sports writer asked how many aces did that make.
"What?," responded Keady. "Are you kidding?. That’s my first and it was lucky. I hit it over a canyon and it went in."
When asked about the scowl that many a Big Ten official drew during his tremendous 25-year tenure on the Purdue bench, Keady offered this.
"I’ve never been a phony," he said. "That was just me."
When his approaching birthday was brought up, Keady responded in typical witty fashion.
"Don’t let that get out as my girlfriends don’t know I’m that old," laughed Keady.
Keady, whose wife Pat passed away in 2009, shared his thoughts on several other topics with the media prior to meeting a large gathering of PU alumni.
The man who was 512-270 in West Lafayette with six Big Ten regular season championships has no plans to hang it up.
"I enjoy teaching the game and it’s what I’ve done my whole life," Keady said. "It’s all about education to me. I plan to continue as long as St. John’s lets me. Steve (St. John’s coach Steve Lavin) is great to work with. He’s a great boss."
Keady was seven times named the Big Ten Coach of the Year and was honored as College Basketball Coach of the Year on six occasions.
"I have no regrets in my coaching career," said Keady, who began his college coaching career at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas in 1965. "There’s a lot of fond memories. I know Pat and I enjoyed our time at Purdue. Those were some fun times. It was a special rivalry with Indiana. I know the fans enjoyed it."
Keady does not see many differences between the Big Ten and the Big East. He also believes that Notre Dame can continue its recent run of outstanding success in the Big East under coach Mike Brey.
"Both leagues are physical and have a lot of good coaches and good players," Keady said. "They (Notre Dame) have a great coach and some great players. I don’t know why they can’t continue the success they’ve had."
Keady is also glad that current Purdue coach Matt Painter will continue to roam Keady Court in Mackey Arena. His former player, who he hand-picked to succeed him after his final season in 2004-05, entertained a possible move to Missouri after this past campaign.
"The thing is that Matt had to be happy about it (staying at Purdue)," said Keady. "Why would he go to Missouri? Norm Stewart (the former longtime coach at Missouri) is one of my good friends, but Purdue has a better basketball reputation than Missouri."
Keady, who also spent a season as an assistant coach in the NBA with Toronto in 2005-06, says his current boss is doing well. Lavin revealed following his first season at St. John’s that he had prostate cancer.
"Steve is doing OK right now," said Keady. "I just left him this weekend. He looked great and healthy."