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Joe Keeton, former Missouri-Rolla coach, passes

Joe Keeton, long-time wrestling coach at a number of schools -- including the University of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology), passed away a month shy of his 78th birthday.

Joe Keeton
Although he passed away two weeks ago at KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., word of Keeton's death was made public only this week, with an obituary in the Kansas City Star on Oct. 17.

Keeton coached the NCAA Division II wrestling program at Missouri-Rolla, an engineering school southwest of St. Louis (renamed Missouri S&T a decade ago), from 1968-1985. He produced over a dozen Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association conference champions and 12 national qualifiers during his tenure. Keeton was also voted MIAA Wrestling Coach of the Year in 1982 by his fellow coaches.

"He coached a non-scholarship-based program and still managed to produce a dozen national qualifiers," according to long-time friend Greg Schoenberg.

"As I understand it, the program was to be cut in 1984 due to Title 9, but Joe fought hard with the Athletic Department to keep the program alive until 1985, when he had 3 wrestlers qualify for D2 nationals."

Although his stint at Missouri-Rolla was his longest, Keeton's coaching career spanned nearly 40 years, most recently at William Chrisman, his high school alma mater.

Larry Joe Keeton was born November 2, 1940, in Adrian, Mo. to Kenneth and Eulah Mae Keeton.

Keeton is survived by wife, Vicky, daughter Amy (David) Lundquist, daughter Kelly (Eva Brodzic) Keeton , and infant grandson, David Kaden Lundquist. He is also survived by three brothers.

A Ceremony of Life will be held, October 28 at 2:00 p.m. at the Gladstone Community Center, 6901 N. Holmes, Gladstone, Mo., 2:00 PM, Casual dress. Please no flowers. Memorials may be made to Missouri S&T University, Athletic Dept., 705 W. Tenth, Rolla, Mo. 65409, OR Independence Public School Foundation, 201 N. Forest, Independence, Mo. 64050, OR KC Pet Project, c/o Donations, 4400 Raytown Road, Kansas City, Mo. 64129. Please designate memorials are for Joe Keeton.

Plans were to honor Keeton at this past Sunday's induction ceremony for the Missouri chapter of the National Wrestling Hal of Fame in Columbia, Mo.

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