Mon | Mar 25, 2019

Leroy Keane is dead

Published:Saturday | July 10, 2010 | 12:00 AM
This fiile photo shows Leroy Keane clearing a hurdle while competing in 1956.

Tony Becca, Contributing Editor

Leroy Keane, one of Jamaica's most versatile athletes, died in Toronto on Saturday, July 3, at age 73.

Standing at six feet five inches, Keane was a Calabar High School stalwart at Boys' Champs and represented Jamaica at the British West Indies Championships (now Central American and Caribbean - CAC Games), at the Pan Am Games, and was considered unlucky to miss selection as a 400-metre hurdler on the national team to the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.

In 1955, Keane led Calabar to victory over Wolmer's Boys School at Champs when he won the 120-yard hurdles and the 880 yards, finished second in the 440 yards and the discus, and was Victor Ludorum of the meet.

In 1956, while finishing second to Wolmer's, Keane was in even greater form.

In becoming Victor Ludorum for the second year in a row, Keane won the 440 yards in record time, won the 120 yards hurdles for the second time, won the discus, finished second in the triple jump and third in the 880 yards.

Memorable year

On top of that, in that memorable year, big Keane anchored Calabar's winning medley-relay team.

As one who won medals - gold, silver and bronze - while running, jumping, throwing and hurdling, Keane is arguably the most outstanding all-round athlete ever to perform at Champs.

The brother of the late Dr Basil Keane, a former captain of Calabar's team at Boys' Champs, and most importantly, the captain of Calabar's 1943 winning Manning Cup team, Leroy Keane won the 440-yard hurdles while representing Jamaica at the BWI Championship in 1957 and in 1960, finished second in the 440 yards in 1959, finished second behind countryman Keith Gardner in the sprint hurdles in 1959 and in 1960, and won the Pentathlon in 1960.

After winning All-American honours in track and field at the University of Nebraska, after getting scholarships for a number of Jamaicans to attend that institution, Keane returned home in the 1970s and coached at Calabar while working as a sports officer at the Social Development Commission.

In the 1980s, Keane went to Canada where, after coaching at Central Technical High School, and forming a track club - and after becoming known as 'Pops' because of his devotion to his young athletes - he was honoured by the country's Track and Field Coaches Association for outstanding contribution to the country's athletics.

Keane will be buried on Saturday, July 17, at the Simple Alternative Funeral Home in Toronto.