The Arizona basketball community lost a great one last week in long-time coach, mentor and friend, Keith Greer. Coach Greer was laid to rest on Sunday evening in Casa Grande, Arizona, in front of a large crowd of loved ones. I attended the service and saw so many people, although it was just a small amount of people, compared to the many people that Coach Greer impacted throughout his life.
So many thoughts come to mind when thinking about my close friend and brother Keith Greer. He had been a long-time mentor to me since I started involving myself with Arizona basketball many years ago. I met Coach Greer in 1997, and he was very well respected then by the Arizona basketball community. I was instead trying to promote Arizona basketball prospects, while still looking to make a name for myself and break into the business at a high level.
Coach Greer attended my first ever club practice for a program then called the Arizona Slam at South Mountain High School in the spring of 1999. He didn't even know me that well, but decided to help coach the practice - aiding the kids in attendance with his wealth of knowledge. Then in the spring of 2000, Coach Greer attended another club tryout that I hosted for, at the time, a newly developed program called Arizona Pump N' Run. The tryout was held at Mesa Community College. There were more than (200) participants in the tryout - well more than my staff and I could handle. Coach Greer and David Grace, who was then an assistant coach for Trevor Browne High School, were asked on the spot to help with the practice. Immediately, Coach Greer and David Grace took over the tryout and had all (200) of the participants running precise drills that I had not seen before, and had each of the kids participating with no one standing around. I marveled at the direction and attention to detail given by Coach Greer and Coach Grace, and new I had something special in my relationship with Coach Greer and Coach Grace going forward that would help mold my basketball future in the state.
Coach Keith Greer was a mentor to me for many years. He personally coached in many of our Arizona Preps Fall Showcase events, and some of my best memories were of him and his son Ashley going at it in coaching battles over the years, and showing me what excellent coaching and passion looked like up close. Keith always gave his time to whatever I was doing, and was a selfless example of what an older black male should do for a younger black male, such as myself. He gave me his wisdom and sincerity every time we spoke. Keith also was a strong link from me to older and very successful members of the Arizona basketball community, such as Be Be Fontenet and John Lewis, both individuals that have also helped me in my life a great deal. Keith was a strong pillar in my life, and also a strong pillar in the Arizona community as a whole, basketball or in education. He helped so many youth and always stood tall as an academic. He was and still is an excellent role model for me on how to present yourself in the community, while providing encouragement to the youth.
There is so much more that I can say about Coach Keith Greer, and as I attended his funeral services on Sunday evening in Casa Grande, I marveled as I ran into so many old faces of people that have also touched and changed my life, and I quick was reminded that Keith was the common denominator for bringing many of us together.
Bottom line is, as I get older, we will continue to lose some of these amazing people that have helped to mold and develop the Arizona basketball community, and many of the youth today will and have missed out on some of these amazing people, that have paved the way for better basketball and life in Arizona today. As a result of Keith Greer's life, I am certainly improved as a result of knowing him, and will work hard to do a similar job with my remaining years on this earth to help continue to impact lives as he did. Thank you Keith for your support, your wisdom and your love for others. We will miss you until we see each other again.