Frank Keaney

Frank Keaney (1886-1967)

Teams coached: Rhode Island Rams
Rhode Island record: 401-124 (.764)
Overall record: 401-124 (.764)

Career Accomplishments:

  • NCAA National Championships:  0
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances:  0
  • NIT Championships:  0  (Runner-up in 1945)
  • NIT Appearances:  4  (1941, 1942, 1945, 1946)
  • New England Regular Season Champion15  (1924, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1946)


  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (inducted 1960)
  • National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame (inducted 2006)

Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1920-1948 Rhode Island

Frank Keaney Facts

  • Frank William Keaney
  • Born June 5, 1886
  • Died October 10, 1967
  • Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Alma Mater: Bates College (BA, 1911)
  • Attended Cambridge Latin School (MA) and Bates College (MA), where he played football, basketball and baseball
  • Started coaching in 1917, spending several years as the head football coach at Everett HS (MA)
  • Arrived at Rhode Island in 1920, becoming the head football, basketball and baseball coach, as well as athletic director
    • Keaney went 401-124 in 28 seasons on the hardwood, winning 15 New England Conference titles
      • Credited as the inventor of the “fast-break” offense, his teams were also known for their full-court defense
        • Said to have been inspired to play fast after attending a Boston Bruins hockey game in 1928
      • In 1939, the Rams became the first college team to average more than 50 points per game in a season
        • Four years later, his 1943 squad was known as “The Firehouse Gang” and scored 80.7 points per game
      • Though he never appeared in the NCAA Tournament, he went to four NITs and finished as Runner-up in 1945
    • In 1953, the University named the new basketball arena Keaney Gymnasium in his honor; though the basketball programs moved to a new building in 2002, the gymnasium still hosts volleyball games
    • Coached the URI football program for 20 years and the baseball team for 27
    • Stepped away from coaching all sports in 1948, but remained in his AD role until retiring in 1956
    • Among his many contributions to the URI athletic programs, he developed the school color “Keaney Blue” himself
  • Keaney actually signed a contract in 1948 to become the head coach of the Boston Celtics, then a new NBA franchise still in its first years, but his doctor advised against taking the position
  • Inducted into the Naismith Basketball HOF (1960); part of the inaugural 2006 class of the College Basketball HOF
    • Also inducted into the Rhode Island Athletics HOF and Bates College Athletics HOF

Frank Keaney Coaching Tree