Purdue legends share stories during Carmel High School visit

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Former Purdue men’s basketball coach Gene Keady loves the way Matt Painter coaches his former team.

Painter is one of Keady’s former players, but Keady said Painter wasn’t always sold on Keady’s coaching methods.

“When Matt came to (Purdue), his dad was a lawyer in Muncie. He came home as a freshman and said, ‘Dad, I don’t know if coach Keady knows what the hell he’s doing,’” Keady said. “His dad said, ‘I’m sure he wants to start his worst players. Shut up, get back to campus, go to class and do what he tells you.’ You see, that turned out pretty well for him. He does a great job teaching.”

Painter replaced Keady in 2005 when Keady retired after 25 years of coaching.

Keady and former Purdue football great Leroy Keyes shared quips and stories Oct. 24 at Carmel High School. The event was a fundraiser for the school’s backpack program, which provides food for students on weekends.

Keyes returned to Purdue as running backs coach in 1995 and 1996 for former coach Jim Colletto. Star fullback Mike Alstott was in his senior year in ’95.

“He told me he was going to pass me in the record books,” Keyes said. “He said, ‘You’ll be a has-been by the time I’m done.’ I said, ‘Let me tell you one thing, young man, you got a chance to play at Purdue for four years.’ I came to Purdue and I couldn’t play as a freshman (per NCAA rules). I had to sit and learn to be a student first before I could play. Because I played defense for one year, got I got just (12) carries as a sophomore. So I said, ‘Mike, don’t talk about your record. If I played offense for four years and carried the ball 600 times at 5.7 yards a carry (Keyes’ career average was 5.9), we would still be talking about Mike Who.’”

Alstott is Purdue’s all-time leading rusher with 3,635 yards on 644 carries. Keyes, who played defensive back as a sophomore, rushed for 2,090 yards on 354 attempts.

Keyes served on former coach Joe Tiller’s staff for four years before moving on to the John Purdue Club, where he retired in 2011.

Golfing buddies Keyes and Keady agreed on most everything except compensating players for their names, likeness and images. Keyes, who played five years in the NFL before injuries cut short his career, is for it. Keady is against it.

“You have to take in consideration what state did it,” said Keady, taking a shot at California’s liberal reputation. “I hate it.”

California passed a law, which does go into effect until 2023, allowing college athletes to be compensated for their likeness and images and sign endorsement deals.

The NCAA is exploring a way to compensate players but with more restrictions than the California law.

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