Lawrence North High SCHOOL

METROPOLITAN DISTRICT OF LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP

Athletic Office: (317) 964-7711  |  PHONE: (317) 964-7700
 

Coaches

Meet The Coach

Head Boys Basketball Coach Jack Keefer

E-mail Coach Keefer
 

Coach, Jack Keefer, the “Dean” of Marion County coaches, began his varsity coaching career with the Wildcats in 1976 and has been the only varsity basketball coach in Lawrence North’s history. We do not believe there is any current Indiana high school basketball coach with that length of tenure at the same school. Coach Keefer originally started his coaching career in 1972. Prior to taking the reins at Lawrence North, Coach Keefer served as the varsity coach at his high school alma mater, Oak Hill High School, for four years.

In March of 2007, Coach Keefer received the ultimate honor for any one associated with Indiana basketball as he was inducted as a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. In 2006, Coach Keefer also achieved a coaching honor that had never before been bestowed upon an Indiana high school coach, even with the great tradition of basketball in our State and its’ storied history. Coach Keefer was recognized as the National High School Coach of the Year by USA Today, Sports Illustrated and the National High School Coach’s Association. Coach Keefer’s coaching record also places him in an elite group of Indiana coaches.

Coach Keefer ended the 2017-18 season with 778 career wins, currently ranked 3rd in the state for all-time coaching victories, second in all-time wins among active coaches. He has also won 4 IHSAA state championships – only one other coach has won more in the history of Indiana basketball. Coach Keefer has an overall career record of 778-319 in 46 years of coaching, an incredible .709 winning percentage.

The Wildcat basketball teams have achieved much success under Coach Keefer’s leadership. The 2006-07 squad extended the Wildcat’s consecutive win streak to 50 wins, breaking a 50 year old record previously held by the great Crispus Attucks teams led by Oscar Robertson. The 2006-07 team also extended the Wildcat’s Sectional victories to five in row! Arguably no Wildcat team achieved more success than the 2005-2006 squad that finished 29-0, winning Lawrence North’s third consecutive State Championship, and being named National Champions (the first Indiana high school team to achieve such recognition).  Along the way, the 2005-06 Wildcats defeated nationally ranked teams from Ohio and Illinois, won the prestigious Marion County Tournament, tied a 50 year-old State record for 45 consecutive wins, and also made history by winning a third consecutive State Championship.

The proud tradition of Lawrence North basketball was established in 1978 (only the school’s second year) as the Wildcats won the prestigious Marion County Tourney, with an undefeated record at the time, and eventually won 19 straight games. The Wildcats also won the Marion County in 1988, 1992, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2006 and 2008. The 1999 and 2006 squads were also undefeated when they won their championships. The ’99 team had 21 consecutive wins and the ’06 team finished a perfect 29-0.

The Wildcats have also enjoyed great post-season success under Coach Keefer. In 1989, the Wildcats were the first “county” team to win the IHSAA state championship. The Wildcats also completed a tri-fecta with “back to back to back” state championships in 2004, 2005, and 2006. In all, Coach Keefer’s Wildcats have won 17 Sectional titles, 6 Regional championships, 4 Semi-State championships and 4 State titles (1989, 2004, 2005 and 2006). The Wildcats have also won all three of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Tournaments (1980, 1989 and 2004) in which they were selected to participate. Coach Keefer is the only Indiana high school coach to have coached three different teams to the prestigious Hall of Fame Tournament titles. During Coach Keefer’s tenure, the Wildcats have also dominated conference play, winning 7 CSAC titles before Lawrence North helped form the powerful MIC conference. The Wildcats have won 9 MIC conference championships in the 20-year existence of the MIC.

Lawrence North basketball players have also enjoyed individual successes under Coach Keefer. Fourteen  Lawrence North players have been named to the Indiana All-Star team, including one Mr. Basketball (Reed Crafton, Derwin Webb, Todd Leary, Eric Montross, Jeff Layden, Tom Geyer, John Stewart, Chris Hill, Brandon McPherson, Mike Conley, Mr. Basketball Greg Oden, Stephen VanTresse, Basil Smotherman, Kevin Easley), and three to the McDonald’s All-American team (Montross, Conley and Oden).  There have been scores of Wildcats who have played at the college level, and two of those players have played on a National Championship team, while two others have two played on a National Championship runner-up. A total of 10 players have left Keefer’s Lawrence North program and played for a college coach that has won the NCAA Tournament – Derwin Webb, University of Louisville/Denny Crum; Eric Montross, UNC/Dean Smith; Todd Leary and Tom Geyer, Indiana/Bob Knight; Andy Means, Duke/Coach Krzyzewski; Reed Crafton and Monte Towe/ Florida, N.C. State/Norm Sloan; John Stewart, Kentucky/Tubby Smith; Chris Hill, Michigan State/Tom Izzo; and Stephan Van Treese, Louisville/Rick Pitino; Brandon Muncie, Indiana University Southeast; Eric Harris, Marion College. Several of Coach Keefer’s players have also played professional basketball. Lawrence North is proud that Greg Oden was selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers draft and Mike Conley as the No. 4 selection by the Memphis Grizzlies. No high school teammates have ever been selected together that high in the NBA draft in the same year.  Eric Montross was selected 9th overall by the Boston Celtics in the 1994 draft and enjoyed an eight year NBA career for six different teams. Many other Wildcats have played professionally in Europe and Asia. 

The Lawrence North basketball program also has a history of developing “big men” (all 6-6 or taller), that have played for Division 1 schools: Oden (Ohio State), Montross (UNC), Stewart (Kentucky), Geyer (Indiana), Kwame James (Evansville), John Peterson (Northwestern), Kyle Peterson (Purdue), Jason Vilas (West Point), Webb (Louisville), Dewey Williams (USC Santa Clara), Jeff Layden (Evansville), Fred Long (IUPUI), Angelo Smith (Xavier, IUPUI), Donald Cloutier (Western Michigan, University of Indianapolis), Jeff Robinson (Xavier), Stephan Van Treese (Louisville), Basil Smotherman (Purdue), and Ra Kpedi (Vermont).

Coach Keefer is also proud of the individual and team successes of his players in the classroom and community, as well as on the court. Over the years, a number of Lawrence North players have been named to various Academic All State teams. More recently, Chris Hill was honored with the John Wooden award for academic success and community service. Greg Oden, Brandon McPherson and Stephan Routt were also honored with the prestigious Trester Award at the 2006, 2005, and 2004 State Championships. And, Greg Oden was honored by many as the National Player of the Year.

Coach Keefer has also been honored to serve as coach of the Indiana All-Star team in its annual two-game series against Kentucky and to serve as Coach of the winning East team in the 2005 McDonald’s All-American Game. Coach Keefer has also served as coach of the McDonald’s Derby Classic, the Indiana East/West All-Star game, the Indiana North/South All-Star game and the Jermaine O’Neal All-Star Classic. In addition to his national honors, Coach Keefer has previously also been named Indiana Coach of the Year and the Ball State Alumnus Coach of the Year. Coach Keefer has also received numerous other recognitions for Marion County Coach of the Year, District Coach of the Year, and Conference Coach of the Year.

On January 29, 2016, the Lawrence North gymnasium was officially renamed the Jack Keefer Gymnasium. During this ceremony, many of Coach Keefer's former players and coaches turned out for this incredible event.  Also in attendance were many dignitaries, including Lawrence Mayor Steve Collier, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, and Indiana State Senator Jim Merritt, who presented Coach Keefer the Sagamore of the Wabash Award on behalf of Indiana Governor Mike Pence. The Wildcats didn't disappointment, beating MIC rival Center Grove 67-60 in front of a packed house. 

Coach Keefer was born in Marion, Indiana, and has his under-graduate degree from Ball State University. He obtained his Masters Degree at Indiana University and graduate degree in school administration from Ball State. Coach Keefer’s family includes his wife, Jan, son, Jake, son, Joel and daughter-in-law, Jill, grandson Frank and dog, Shadow.

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