Former Monarch Paul Keyes (ODU' 84) Dies After Battle With Cancer

November 05, 2012
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Paul Heyes 1An outfielder for ODU, Keyes hit .368 in 1983

Paul Heyes 1Former Monarch Paul Keyes (ODU' 84) Dies After Battle With Cancer

Nov. 5, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. - Former ODU Baseball standout and VCU Head Baseball Coach Paul Keyes (ODU'84) passed away early Saturday afternoon after a courageous battle with cancer. He was 50 years old.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of a tremendous human being," said VCU Director of Athletics Ed McLaughlin. "Paul was an outstanding baseball coach and an even better husband, father, friend and man. The VCU Department of Athletics and the entire campus community will keep Trisha and the Keyes family in our thoughts and prayers during their time of grieving.

The Rams' all-time winningest coach with 603 career victories, Keyes spent 18 seasons at the helm of VCU's baseball program. During his tenure as head coach, he led the Black and Gold to eight NCAA Tournament appearances and five Colonial Athletic Association championships. He was also a four-time CAA Coach of the Year.

"This is obviously a very sad day for this program, VCU Athletics and the entire college baseball community. Paul was a tremendous coach, mentor, friend, husband and father. His impact on this program will be felt every day for years to come because of the many lives he touched. So many of us are very blessed to have been able to call him Coach," said Stiffler, VCU's interim head coach and Keyes' top assistant for the past six seasons.

After serving as an assistant coach from 1985-91, Keyes returned to VCU as head coach in 1995. He became the program's winningest coach in nine seasons when he picked up his 330th victory on May 4, 2003. Keyes elevated VCU to not only one of the best programs in the state of Virginia, but also along the East Coast, winning nearly 60 percent of its games over the last 15 years. Under his guidance, VCU boasted 12 straight winning seasons from 1996-2007 and won 40-plus games on four occasions.

Keyes graduated for ODU in 1984.Keyes hit 368 as a junior for ODU with 12 doubles, two triples and 27 runs scored that year. He had the ODU record for the most doubles in a game which was three against Purdue on March 11, 1983 until Jude Donato ('05) broke it with four in a game against Richmond in 1994 and Mike Zaum equaled it in 2007 against Iona.

Keyes was an All-District player and MVP for nearby Ferguson High School in Newport News, VA.

Recognized as an excellent teacher, recruiter and mentor, 36 of Keyes' former players have gone on to play professional baseball, including six in the Major Leagues.

A native of Newport News, Va., he is survived by his wife, Trisha and three children, Paul Jr., MacKenzie and Kyle.