On Sunday, June 16th, we will celebrate dear old dad. Our protecter. Our hero. The man of steel who doesn’t cry. The one who picked us up every time we would fall when we were little and dust us off.
Fathers not only teach us everything we know, some kids are lucky enough to have their dad coach them in the sport they chose to play.
That happens to be the case for Paintsville Lady Tiger pitcher Anna Keeton. Her father, Randy Keeton has coached Anna Keeton nearly her entire life in one form or another. He coached her during her softball career at Paintsville.
Anna Keeton is a multi-sport athlete for the Lady Tigers having scored over 2,000 points in her basketball career. That led to her jersey being added to the Wall of Fame at Bill Mike Runyon Court.
Anna Keeton has also posted back-to-back 20 win seasons on the mound for the Lady Tiger softball team. She and her teammates advanced to the 57th District championship to face rival Johnson Central in what was a 10 inning thriller in which the Lady Tigers lost 1-0.
Randy Keeton started Anna in sports at a young age.
“Well, she got her first dose of me around when she was four or five-years old age around the house,” Randy Keeton said. “Then moved on up to basketball out in the driveway, you know, typical father-daughter type stuff.”
“I got to see him coach Lawrence County,” Anna Keeton said. “I was always in the dugout. I learned a lot of great things there, but now I’d say to have him as a coach was a little tough. You have to go through everything with being a coaches daughter. It’s been good, though. I think he’s one of the best coaches around. He’s helped me a lot not only as a player, but as a person. I get to go home with him and I get to see everything through a coaches perspective. We’ll sit and watch games together and he just teaches me everything he knows about the game and that’s kind of where I learned it from.”
The Keeton’s originally came from Louisa in Lawrence County.
As Anna Keetons’s talent started to show, the elder Keeton felt it was time to make the move to Paintsville.
“We just felt like it was time to come here,” Randy Keeton said. “So at Paintsville in fifth, sixth and seventh grade I coached her in middle school basketball. Dave Vanhoose coached her in her seventh grade year in softball, then I’ve coached her the last five seasons as varsity softball coach.”
Most everyone knew Anna Keeton had next level talent early on. She played varsity basketball and softball as a middle school student.
“She got to play a little varsity in the sixth grade in basketball,” Randy Keeton said. She was part of really good teams throughout her high school career. Paintsville won three All “A” Classic titles and a 15th Region title. One of the All “A” championships came this season as the Lady Tigers earned a trip to McBrayer Arena on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University.
A few short weeks ago, Anna Keeton signed her letter of intent to play collegiate basketball for Kentucky Christian University located in Grayson, Kentucky. As a parent, that would have to be one of the proudest moments one could imagine. With her going to college just under 50 miles up the road, dad and the rest of her family will be able to watch her much easier than with the other schools from which she was offered.
“We loved it,” Randy Keeton said. “We were kind of leaning that way after talking with them. We can drive to Grayson in an hour in ten minutes.”
Asked if he had a message for his daughter as she gets ready to begin her collegiate career Randy Keeton said, “She knows her mom and I love her, I expect her to try hard and have fun over there. She may want to follow me someday and get into this coaching a little bit. She’s undecided on that or nursing, but for the next four years just give her all.” One great thing is, sports has brought this father and daughter closer and their relationship is much stronger by all the extra time they have gotten to spend with one another on and off the field.