In his young head coaching career at North Carolina State, Kevin Keatts has already shown signs of what is to become of N.C. State’s Basketball program. A coaching philosophy that is centered around hard-work and dedication on the defensive end has already led to early success for the Wolfpack. Within nine games of the season, Keatts has hoisted a win over Arizona, the No. 2 ranked team in the country. North Carolina State athletic director, Debbie Yow, took some scrutiny when first hiring Keatts to take over the basketball program. It is safe to say what was once scrutiny, has now turned to optimism.
Kevin Keatts’ coaching career began as an assistant in the 1996-97 season at Southwestern Michigan College. After multiple assistant coaching stints within his early coaching career, he was hired as an assistant coach at the University of Louisville. Serving under Naismith Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino, many of the coaching styles and schemes we see from Keatts today, derived from his experience with Pitino. After taking part in Louisville’s 2013 National Championship team as an assistant, Keatts had his sights set on the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Kevin Keatts saw immediate success at UNC Wilmington within his first year, ending the season with an overall record of 18-14 and tying for first place in the conference of the Colonial Athletic Association. This was a vast improvement from the prior season when UNC Wilmington finished with an overall record of 9-23 under Buzz Peterson. Improving on his success from his first season, UNC Wilmington within the next two seasons would go on to finish with overall records of 25-8 and 29-6. These two seasons ultimately led to two appearances at the NCAA Tournament under the coaching of Keatts.
After a first-round exit in the NCAA Tournament, Kevin Keatts announced his departure from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. On March 17, 2017, Kevin Keatts was officially announced as the new head coach at North Carolina State University succeeding previous coach Mark Gottfried. Staying true to the values and coaching philosophies learned from previous coaching experiences, Keatts has shown time and time again his success and determination as a collegiate basketball coach. N.C. State’s early success under Keatts comes as no surprise to his fellow coaches and players. Keatts is not only a mentor to his players, but also has constructed a blueprint for success on and off the court. Having a plan and a big picture mindset has led to success all throughout Kevin Keatts career. North Carolina State fans and alumni should expect nothing less from their new coach. North Carolina State Basketball has a bright future ahead of them, and it all begins with Kevin Keatts.