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Player Quotes on Bill Keightley

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#3 Ramel Bradley, Senior

On remembering Bill Keightley…
“The thing I just want to say about Mr. Keightley, we all love him so much, but I’ll just never forget his dedication. He’s probably the most dedicated man I’ve ever met in my life. He was here first thing in the morning and like coach said, he was pushing the cart. He always had a smile on his face. He was never down; he was never upset; you never saw him like that. And even if I was upset or feeling some kind of way, when you walked in he was going to grab you up and hold you real tight and tell you, ‘You’re my boy Little Smooth.’ He made me feel like I was his favorite, and the thing about it is, he made everyone feel like that. He was a great man and we’re all going to miss him. He has been a great inspiration in my life and for many others.”

With the age difference, how they could have such a good bond…
“I was just blessed to be in this position to meet him. I’ve known him for four years and I love Big Smooth with all my heart and I’m like him in so many ways. He’s so outgoing and he’s funny, he always had that smile on him and I’m going to miss him so much.”

On relating to Mr. Keightley…
“To be so old, the younger players wouldn’t want to be around him, but we wanted to be around him more than the guys our age. He was just so young, but at the same time so wise and someone that you really looked up to and you could go to for advice and other things.”

On how “Big Smooth” came around…
“It just came around when I got here. I was telling everybody my name was Smooth and they were like ‘That’s Mr. Keightley’s name, I’m sorry son.’ And ever since then I just called him Big Smooth and he called me Little Smooth. He got that name way before I got here.”

#32 Joe Crawford, Senior

On remembering Bill Keightley…
“The thing that I got from Big Smooth was strength. He was one of the only people (left) in the program since I got here. He helped me along the way and it made me feel good to go in there and have something be the same since I got here. When I walked in some days and I didn’t feel like practicing or I was tired he would bring me up and pick me up and just get me through the day. Just watching him come in and prepare to work everyday, and me coming off that injury, I felt like I should have the power to do that. And that’s just what he brought to the table. I just think it’s amazing that he can relate to so many people and I don’t know of anyone who didn’t have a good friendship with him, he could relate to anyone. And it’s just amazing.”

Article written by Matt Jones