Joe Keller

Baseball

It's been nearly 40 years since Joe began to demonstrate his athletic talent at Clover Park High School in Lakewood. Ever since, his life has largely been defined by contributions to amateur athletics. Today, he is the athletic director at Lakes High School.

Born Oct. 20, 1955 in Tacoma, Joe was a three-year starter at quarterback for the Warriors football team but it was his throwing arm on the baseball field that gave him an opportunity to play professional ball.

His junior baseball season at Clover Park was particularly impressive. He pitched a no-hitter against Wilson in the 1973 regional playoffs and a one-hitter with 13 strikeouts against Newport in the state semi-finals. That season, he was 11-1 with a 0.75 ERA. He had signed a letter-of-intent to play baseball at Washington State but after his senior season at Clover Park in 1974, he was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He advanced to the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque before injuries ended his career. At that point, he finally made his way to Pullman and turned his degree into a teaching and coaching career.

For over 20 years, he coached baseball and football and Curtis and Lakes high schools. He was the head baseball coach at Curtis from 1987-99, earning South Puget Sound League Coach of the Year honors in 1989 and 1997. His Curtis teams were in the district of state playoffs 11 of his 12 seasons as head coach. He was also involved in the Tacoma/Pierce County vs. Japan-USA Sister City all-star baseball series in the 1990s.

The roots of his coaching success began in his playing days, particularly under the tutelage of coach Merle Hagbo. "I was fortunate enough to be surrounded with excellent teammates and opponents in high school who made me a better athlete, competitor and hopefully, teammate. I had wonderful role models for coaches and the folks that I played and coached with made me a better person today."

While Joe may have hung up his cleats, that has not slowed down his penchant for being in the limelight as he currently entertains crowds as the long-time lead singer of Chicken Joe and the Fabulous Cocks.