One day after the Louisville coach announced the additions of his son, Richard Pitino, and Wyking Jones to his staff, sources inform InsideTheVille.com that Pitino has hired Hargrave (Va.) Academy coach Kevin Keatts to complete his coaching staff.
"We're really excited to add Kevin to our staff," said Pitino. "He rounds out three outstanding individuals who all bring something different to the table to create a terrific recruiting team, as well being a group that excels in coaching and scouting. Kevin has been a tireless recruiter at Hargrave, where it's not easy for everyone to get up at six a.m. to march. He's done an outstanding job of building his prep teams for many years and also has experience as a collegiate assistant. This is one of the best recruiting staffs I have ever assembled."
"I'm very excited to have the opportunity to work with Coach Pitino and the entire Louisville Family," said Keatts. "Coach Pitino is a great leader, teacher, motivator and Hall of Fame coach. I am excited about coaching in the BIG EAST and look forward to getting started."
Keatts has a big-time reputation as a recruiter, with particularly strong ties in Virginia and North Carolina. During his time at Hargrave, Keatts' list of former players reads like a Who's Who of former prep stars.
Lonnie Baxter. David West. Josh Howard. James White. Korleone Young. Joe Alexander. Marresse Speights. Keatts recruited and coached all of those players, each of whom went on to play in the NBA. Four of those players were first round NBA draft choices. Keatts has coached five current NBA players at the prep level including Washington Wizards guard Jordan Crawford and forward Josh Howard, Philadelphia 76ers forward Marreese Speights, Memphis Grizzlies guard/forward Sam Young and New Orleans Hornets forward David West.
With talent like that it's easy to understand how Keatts won two national titles at Hargrave. In 10 seasons in two separate stints as the head coach at Hargrave (1999-2001, 2003-2011), he compiled an incredible 262-17 record with two national prep titles (2004, 2008), three runner-up finishes (2005, 2006, 2009) and two additional appearances among the final four prep teams (2007, 2010). Keatts won his second national prep title with a perfect 29-0 record, the school's first ever undefeated season. His teams lost one or fewer games on six occasions.
A former assistant coach at Marshall University, Keatts coached four McDonald's All-Americans at Hargrave – P.J. Hairston, Vernon Macklin, White and Young. During Keatts stay, Hargrave produced 103 players who signed NCAA Division I men's basketball scholarships, including active Big East Conference players - Pittsburgh guard Isaiah Epps and DePaul guard/forward Eric Wallace.
Keatts was a coach in this year's Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic, where he helped the Gold to a 126-122 win Friday night.