2023, News

2023 Bill “Mr. Wildcat” Keightley Award Winner

The Sixth Annual Bill “Mr. Wildcat” Keightley Award will be presented to Grant Wells from Bullitt Central High School during the 2023 Mr. and Miss Kentucky Basketball Awards Ceremony presented by the Madden Foundation on March 19th at the Lexington Griffin Gate Marriott Resort.

Nominations were submitted from across the state for this prestigious award which honors a Kentucky high school senior basketball team manager, who exemplifies the essence of “team player”.  Someone who supports their team with passion, dedication and enthusiasm while also performing well off the court, in the classroom and in the community.

Grant Wells, a senior at Bullitt Central High School said, ” I have learned that selflessness is the key to team success. This goes for not only a basketball team, but any sort of group with multiple moving parts. Much like a good basketball team, to be the best at anything we can possibly be, we all have to do our jobs and take accountability in our roles. Being selfless and getting everyone involved is the always the best idea in any situation, and that is the best key life skill that I have learned from being in my current position.”

As well as managing for three years, he’s also been on the Honor Roll each year of his high school career, is a member of the Beta Club, is on the Bass Fishing Team at Bullitt Central and has maintained a 4.2 GPA.

When asked what made Grant a standout manager, Coach Griffin said, “Grant is an excellent student manager. He is prompt and available for any job that necessary. He has a wide array of skills and can help the team in so many different facets. Grant is kind, polite, and patient. He has a great relationship with coaches and players on the team. He has recruited younger managers to help him, and he has done an excellent job teaching them the ropes. I was a collegiate basketball manager and I feel that Grant can do the same role. We are very proud of Grant, and we are fortunate to have him in our program.”

William “Mr. Wildcat” Bill Keightley played basketball at Kavanaugh High School in Lawrenceburg, KY where he graduated in 1944.  He then attended Eastern Kentucky University until he entered the U.S. Marine Corps to serve his county in World War II.

Mr. Keightley served as the Equipment Manager for the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team from 1962 until his death in 2008.  He served under coaches Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall, Eddie Sutton, Rick Pitino, Tubby Smith, and Billy Gillespie.  Keightley was part of three NCAA Championship teams and 12 South Eastern Conference Championship teams in his 46 years of tenure.

All sports fans are welcome to attend or view the 2023 Mr. and Miss Kentucky Basketball Awards Ceremony. To learn more about the event visit www.mrandmisskybasketball.com.  For questions please email JenniferHunt@kylionseye.org or call 270-999-4887.

The 12th annual Mr. and Miss Kentucky Basketball Award Ceremony presented by The Madden Foundation serves as a fundraiser for the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation, who has announced Mr. Kentucky Basketball since 1954 and Miss Kentucky Basketball since 1976.  To learn more about KLEF’s mission and our programs and services please visit http://www.kylionseye.org.