Ted Keller ‘53
R-MC Coach Ted Keller served
as head football coach from 1964-81.
ASHLAND, VA -- Ted Keller, a legendary former coach, athlete and athletic administrator
at Randolph-Macon College, passed away Friday, April 10, 2009.
A native of Winchester, Virginia, Keller graduated from Handley High School in 1949
where he was a star athlete in football, basketball and track. After high school,
Keller enrolled at Randolph-Macon, where he excelled in football and baseball for
four years. In football, Keller played quarterback and was all-conference, All-American
and a team co-captain. In baseball, he was an all-conference shortstop. Off the
field, Keller was a Dean’s List student and a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa
national leadership and scholarship honor society. He received a B.A. degree in
history from Randolph-Macon in 1953.
“Ted Keller left an indelible mark on the students whose lives he touched,” said
R-MC president Robert R. Lindgren. “He was not only an exceptional athlete and coach,
but a wonderful mentor, setting an example for sportsmanship and honor. He represented
the best qualities about Randolph-Macon and he will be deeply missed.”
Keller began his coaching career as an assistant at James Wood High School in Winchester
in 1953. From 1954 to 1956, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps and played football
for the Quantico base team. He started as quarterback ahead of four Division I quarterbacks,
including All-American Worth Lutz from Duke University.
In 1956 Keller got back into coaching as head football coach at Fairfax High School
from 1956 to 1958, achieving a 14-4-2 record there. He then returned to Randolph-Macon
in 1958 as an assistant coach and in 1964, Keller took over as head coach of the
Yellow Jacket football team. He served in that capacity for 18 years with a record
While Keller was head coach, Randolph-Macon’s teams won four Mason-Dixon Athletic
Conference championships and three Old Dominion Athletic Conference titles. The
biggest moment for the program during that time was winning the 1969 Knute Rockne
Bowl NCAA east division championship, 47-28 on the road against the University of
Bridgeport (CT). That 1969 Yellow Jacket team was inducted into Randolph-Macon’s
Athletic Hall of Fame in the fall of 2004.
“Coach Keller has been and always will be the face of the Randolph-Macon football
program,” said current R-MC head coach Pedro Arruza. “The tradition he established
here is remarkable and was one of the main things that initially attracted me to
this job. With his legacy, he set an unbelievable standard of excellence – not only
with his success on the field but also with the impact he made on the hundreds of
men who played for him. You can tell when you meet one of his former players that
Coach Keller is loved and respected by those who played for him." Continued Arruza
- "From day one, he welcomed me into the Randolph-Macon football family. He was
a great sounding board for a young coach. Even in tough times, he was always supportive
of me and the program. His passing is a huge loss not only for the Randolph-Macon
community, but for me personally. Coach Keller was a great man, and I will miss
Individually, Keller was named Virginia Small College Coach of the Year four times
and Old Dominion Athletic Conference Coach of the Year three times. In 1976, he
coached the East team in the Virginia Collegiate East-West All-Star Game in Roanoke
to a 29-19 win.
Keller was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame on April 23, 2005. The
induction dinner ceremony took place in Portsmouth as a part of the Hall of Fame
Weekend, which included the dedication of a new facility for the Hall of Fame. The
Virginia Sports Hall of Fame was Keller’s sixth hall of fame induction. He was a
member of the first class inducted into Randolph-Macon’s Athletic Hall of Fame in
1996 and in 2005 was honored again with his 1969 football team. In addition, he
has been inducted into the Handley High School Hall of Fame, the Winchester Fastpitch
Softball Hall of Fame and the Richmond Slowpitch Softball Hall of Fame.
Besides his football coaching duties, Keller was also Randolph-Macon’s head golf
coach from 1964 through 2002, and served as the school’s athletic director from
1982 to 1996. He served as the Director of the Yellow Jacket Club for many years
and worked with the R-MC golf team until his death. In 1979, Randolph-Macon’s Society
of Alumni presented Keller with the Distinguished Service Award, and he received
the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1996.
“Ted’s passion for life and for Randolph-Macon was unparalleled,” said R-MC athletic
director, Denis Kanach. “He could always be found at R-MC athletic competitions,
cheering on our Yellow Jackets and even competing in our golf tournaments. It just
won’t be the same without him.”
Keller’s service to the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame included being president of
the organization in 1992 and 1994, and serving as chairman of that board from 1994
A memorial service for Keller will take place on Tuesday, April 14 at 2:00 p.m.
at Crenshaw Gymnasium with a reception to follow in Alumni Gym.