For the fifth time since 2010, Golden Valley has hired a boys’ basketball coach. Former assistant Larry Keys becomes the next in line to try and resurrect the struggling program. After not winning a Foothill League game in almost three years and only winning three overall over the last two years, the school decided to part ways with Dan Alon. Keys was the head JV coach at Golden Valley from 2005-2009 posting a 62-38 record. He was also a varsity assistant during the back-to-back league championships in 2005-2006. Keys has been at Hart High in Newhall since 2010 as the head JV coach, posting a record of 108-17 including a 45-5 record in the Foothill League as well as 35 league wins in a row.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for me and I really want to see if I can take my philosophy from the JV level to the varsity level,” Keys said. Working under former head coach Chris Printz and current Hart head Coach Tom Kelly has prepared Keys for this challenge. “Tom wins more games before teams step on the court due to his preparation. For him the preparation is the separation,” said Keys regarding his former head coach. During his previous stint with Printz, Keys also learned some of the things to prepare him for this opportunity. “Chris taught me a lot about the fundamentals of coaching. I learned how to manage the grind of practice and multiple games each week,” Keys said.
Athletic Director Robert Fisher also feels Keys is the right person to take over the program. “Coach Keys has a lot of great qualities that made him a perfect fit for our program. Above all though, Coach Keys knows our school, our kids, our league, and our community. Coach Keys knows what it takes to run a program.”
Having that feeling of familiarity was not lost on Keys either. “I’ve been here before. When I was at Hart I saw the GV kids. Obviously there was some losing but I never saw apathy, no quit on the court and it’s a testament to their character as individuals and as a group,” said Keys about the current Grizzlies team. There are other things Keys admires about this present group besides their grit and determination. “I like their athleticism, they’re very coachable, as well as being excited and enthusiastic about this change.”
Everyone around the basketball program is excited to have Keys on board but over in Newhall, Coach Kelly is losing a top assistant. “I’m sorry to be losing Larry but it’s a great opportunity for him and I’m sure he’s going to do well,” Kelly said.
With several key players set to return including all league selection Bryce Tyler-St. Claire and sharpshooters Noah Heinzman and Derek Schlossman, Coach Keys has some important ingredients to get the Grizzlies on the right track to getting back on top of the Foothill League. Golden Valley believes Larry is the “Key” to getting this program back where they think they belong.
Coach Keys going over some techniques with the team.
The teaching never stops with Coach Keys.