Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Keller resigned as Holy Cross football coach

Keller resigned as Holy Cross football coach

One of the area's all-time coaches is leaving his post.

Allen "Butch" Keller, who has helped build and rebuild three different programs has resigned as head football coach at Holy Cross High School. The longtime mentor has coached high school football for 34 seasons, including stints at Honesdale and Western Wayne.

In 2004, he returned to coaching following a six-year layoff after suffering a heart attack and having five heart bypass surgeries, at Bishop O'Hara.

When Bishop O'Hara and Bishop Hannan closed in 2007, Holy Cross became the new Catholic School in Scranton, and Keller remained as coach.

In 34 seasons, he has a career record of 205-143-4. At Bishop O'Hara and Holy Cross, he took a program that went 8-32 in its previous 40 games to a record of 25-19.

"I'm walking away," the 63-year-old Keller said. "I gave them all that I could. Now it's somebody else's turn.

"I really enjoyed my time there when it was Bishop O'Hara. They treated me so nice. There were some growing pains after the merger."

During Keller's four seasons at Bishop O'Hara and Holy Cross, he joined forces with the parents' club. Keller, his assistant coaches, the parents and the players donated time and money to help renovate the stadium and facilities at St. Anthony's Playground.

Last summer, they repainted the stadium, changing it from the old blue and gold colors at Bishop O'Hara to the green, silver and black of Holy Cross.

Through his stay at Bishop O'Hara, the program steadily battled low roster numbers, but managed to go to the Eastern Conference Class A playoffs in 2005 and choosing to go in 2006, winning the title by beating South Williamsport.

"The first year we were .500, the next we were playing in the Eastern Conference playoffs and won it the next," Keller said. "I thought we were really doing well. We still have trouble with our schedule, but we were managing. I enjoyed the kids, the parents and the administration.

"Right now it's not for me."

Keller did not say that this resignation would bring to an end his coaching career. While a coach on the high school level, he was also a successful coach for the Scranton Eagles, the area's semi-professional team that played in the Empire Football League.

"We'll see what pops up," said Keller, who is a Hall of Fame coach in the American Football Association. "I'll coach somewhere. I'm not through."

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┬ęThe Times-Tribune 2008

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