Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Keith Madison, February 14, 2019

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries

 

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00:00:00 - Assistant coach John Butler

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Partial Transcript: Well we're happy to have Coach Madison back here in the studio with us and I know there were some--kind of things that you wanted to talk about, some things that you wanted to add to your original interview.

Segment Synopsis: Madison discusses his assistant coach, John Butler. They worked together for around twelve to thirteen years. Madison recalls that Butler had a great work ethic and brought other areas of coaching expertise to the team. Madison shares that Butler helped with coaching, recruiting, field maintenance, and many other things. Madison recalls Butler's itineraries, which would include odd times for their practice and travel plans. Butler's organization complemented Madison's coaching style as Butler was more detail oriented. Madison shares a story of Butler getting hurt at a practice.

Keywords: Assistant coaches; Baseball fields; Baseball knowledge; Batting cages; Coaching; Drills; Field maintenance; Food stamps; Gary Key; Graduate assistants; Hiring processes; Infields; Injuries; Itineraries; Job descriptions; John Butler; Pitching coaches; Practices; Ron Polk; SEC coaches; Schedules; Scores; Southeastern Conference (SEC); Stitches; Teaching; Tractors; Traveling; Work ethic

Subjects: Base running (Baseball); Baseball; Baseball coaches; Baseball managers; College athletes--Recruiting; College sports--Coaching; Mississippi State University; Pitching (Baseball); Salaries; University of Kentucky--Baseball; Wounds and injuries

00:07:54 - Assistant coach Jan Weisberg

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Partial Transcript: You had another assistant coach, Jan Weisberg.

Segment Synopsis: Madison discusses initially recruiting Weisberg as a catcher for the University of Kentucky baseball team. After Weisberg graduated, he stayed at the University of Kentucky and worked on his master's degree. He stayed on as one of Madison's graduate assistants and then became a part time assistant. Eventually Weisberg became Madison's top assistant and an effective recruiter. Weisberg went on to become head coach at Birmingham Southern College.

Keywords: Assistant coaches; Bob Smith; California; Catchers; College baseball; College transfers; Giants; Head coaches; Jan Weisberg; Minor League Baseball; Pitchers; Pitching coaches; Pro scouts; Recruiting; Rookie of the Year; Southeastern Conference (SEC); Strikes; Students of the game; William Van Landingham

Subjects: Baseball; Baseball coaches; Baseball players; Baseball programs; Baseball--Coaching; Catching (Baseball); College athletes--Recruiting; College sports--Coaching; Professional sports; University of Kentucky--Baseball

00:12:07 - Assistants and players who became coaches

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Partial Transcript: Did you have other assistants that went on to be head coaches?

Segment Synopsis: Madison discusses several assistants and players who became head coaches of their own teams. He names Matt Bragga and Greg Goff as examples.

Keywords: Assistant coaches; Baseball programs; Campbell University; Careers; Former players; Gregg Goff; Head coaches; Matt Bragga; Purdue University; The University of Montevallo

Subjects: Baseball coaches; Baseball players; Baseball programs; College athletes; College sports; College sports--Coaching; College sports--Kentucky; Occupations; Rice University; University of Kentucky--Baseball

00:12:51 - First year as a head coach

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Partial Transcript: Well, you know you're unique, um, in that you were a head coach, I think at 26.

Segment Synopsis: Madison discusses becoming head coach at the age of 26. He shares that he was the youngest coach at the time and he relied on advice from Coach Polk. Madison explains that while he was young, his passion for the game made up for the mistakes that he made.

Keywords: Advice; Baseball coaches association; Baseball teams; Bible; Coaching; Division I; Head coaches; High school coaches; Mistakes; Passion; Players; Ron Polk; Sins; Southeastern Conference (SEC); Young coaches

Subjects: American Baseball Coaches Association; Baseball coaches; Baseball programs; College sports--Coaching; College sports--Kentucky; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky--Baseball

00:14:02 - Leadership on his first team / Relationship with players

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Partial Transcript: So you have this--you're 26, you have this--your first team at Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Madison discusses feeling intimidated by his first team but understanding that many of the players had great leadership qualities. Madison shares that several of his players went on to be very successful businessmen.

Keywords: Assistant coaches; Baseball team captains; Business executives; Center fielders; Communication; Fall practices; Head coaches; Jim Leopold; Leaders; Pitchers; Players; Practices; Steve Roberts; Team bonding; Team captains

Subjects: Baseball coaches; Baseball players; Baseball programs; Baseball teams; College athletes; College sports; College sports--Coaching; Leadership; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky--Baseball

00:15:41 - Jim Leopold's catch

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Partial Transcript: Tell me about the catch.

Segment Synopsis: Madison remembers Jim Leopold making an over the shoulder catch that rivaled Willie May's famous catch. With his back to the plate, Leopold caught the ball over his shoulder and his glove ended up touching the fence.

Keywords: Athletes; Baseball catches; Baseball games; Baseball gloves; Baseballs; Catches; Gloves; Jim Leopold; Outfielders; Speed; Willie Mays

Subjects: Baseball coaches; Baseball players; Baseball programs; Baseball teams; Center fielders (Baseball); College athletes; College sports; College sports--Coaching; University of Kentucky--Baseball; University of Kentucky--Sports--History

00:16:59 - Van trips

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Partial Transcript: Did I tell the story earlier about Jim and I in the van?

Segment Synopsis: Madison discusses taking van trips with about 21 players to distant games. He shares one story about traveling to the University of Georgia at Athens where he wrestled with Jim Leopold in the back of the van. Madison explains that those trips with his first team helped develop his relationship with his players.

Keywords: Athletes; Baseball parks; Batting practices; Ground balls; Jim Leopold; Jokes; Physical activities; Relationships; Road trips; Southeastern Conference (SEC); Stories; Team bonding; Traveling; Trips; Vans; Wrestling; Young coaches

Subjects: Baseball coaches; Baseball players; Baseball programs; Baseball teams; College athletes; College sports--Coaching; Lexington (Ky.); University of Kentucky--Baseball; University of Kentucky--Sports--History

00:22:18 - Success of his first team

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Partial Transcript: That first team--and then we'll move on--how successful were they?

Segment Synopsis: Madison discusses the success of his first team at the University of Kentucky. He explains that they had a rough season the year before but ended up breaking the school record for wins the next year. Madison shares the importance of believing in his players and how much that helped his team.

Keywords: Assistant coaches; Baseball seasons; Head coaches; John Butler; Losses; Records; School records; Wins

Subjects: Baseball coaches; Baseball players; Baseball programs; Baseball teams; College sports; College sports--Coaching; University of Kentucky--Baseball; University of Kentucky--Sports--History

00:23:59 - Batting practice

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Partial Transcript: Well, one of the things you alluded to was batting practice, throwing batting practice.

Segment Synopsis: Madison remembers throwing balls for batting practice and his competitiveness coming out at times. Madison tried to make sure that they were game ready and had a competitive edge. One of his old players recalls Madison hitting a ball into the dugout to make sure that they were paying attention.

Keywords: Baseball bats; Bat swings; Batting; Batting practices; Breaking ball; Bullpen; Competition; Drills; Dugouts; Ego; Fastballs; Fungo bats; Fungos; Infielders; Pitching

Subjects: Baseball coaches; Baseball players; Baseball teams; Batting (Baseball); College sports--Coaching; Pitching (Baseball); University of Kentucky--Baseball; University of Kentucky--Sports--History

00:26:31 - Support from Cliff Hagan

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Partial Transcript: You know, you were at Kentucky a long time. You know, we've had, we've very few athletic directors when you look at it.

Segment Synopsis: Madison discusses coaching under Cliff Hagan as the athletic director. Madison shares that he has so much respect for Hagan and was proud that he was their athletic director. Madison explains that Hagan is a legendary figure in Kentucky athletics and he was thankful that Hagan gave him the opportunity to coach.

Keywords: Administration; Athletic department; Athletics; Cliff Hagan; Cliff Hagan Stadium; Facilities; Fences; Head coaches; Hiring processes; Kentucky athletics; Legends; Opportunity

Subjects: Athletic directors; Baseball coaches; Baseball fields; Baseball programs; College facilities; College sports; College sports--Coaching; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky--Sports--History

00:29:04 - Support from Charles Martin Newton

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Partial Transcript: Well, Mr. Hagan leaves and at some point in there, C. M. Newton comes in.

Segment Synopsis: After Mr. Hagan left, Charles Martin Newton became the new athletic director. Madison discusses coaching under him and the support that the baseball team received. Since they had been winning, Newton upgraded their budget and their salaries. Madison appreciated how Newton took their program to the next level and was impressed with Newton's role on the national scale. Newton expanded his staff to include liaisons to communicate between him and the coaches.

Keywords: Advice; Assistant athletic directors; Baseball innings; Baseball seasons; Baseball stadiums; Budgets; C. M. Newton; Careers; Charles Martin Newton; Coaching careers; Dugouts; Experience; Head coaches; John Crop; Leadership; Liaisons; Records; SEC coaches; Salaries; Schedules; Southeastern Conference (SEC); Staff; Wisdom

Subjects: Athletic directors; Baseball fields; Baseball players; Baseball programs; Basketball coaches; Basketball players; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky--Sports--History

00:33:01 - Working with Frank Ham

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Partial Transcript: Frank Ham, a name you mentioned.

Segment Synopsis: Madison discusses working with Frank Ham. He shares that Ham understood coaches and knew that they were not being compensated at the same level as other coaches. Madison discusses that his wife got pregnant while he was coaching at the University of Kentucky and Ham helped him find a doctor.

Keywords: Assistant athletic directors; Assistant coaches; Benefits; Cliff Hagan; Compensation; Debts; Doctors; Frank Ham; Head coaches; Medical expenses; Pregnancies; SEC coaches; Salaries; Southeastern Conference (SEC); Wives

Subjects: Athletic directors; Baseball coaches; Baseball programs; Children; College sports; College sports--Coaching; Families; Health insurance; Southeastern Conference; University of Kentucky--Baseball

00:34:29 - Most memorable players

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Partial Transcript: Well, you know, one of the things that I know you just did that you really enjoyed, ESPN has the "30 for 30" and, and the SEC Network has what's called the "SEC Storied."

Segment Synopsis: Madison discusses the most memorable players that he coached. He shares stories of significant performances in games and memorable seasons of several players. Madison recalls several players who had incredible seasons, highlighting on Jeff Keener.

Keywords: Baseball games; Baseball seasons; Bill Sandry; Careers; ESPN; Hal Baird; Head coaches; Jeff Keener; MLB; Panel discussions; Pitchers; SEC Network; SEC Storied; Southeastern Conference (SEC); Strikeouts; Tim Hudson

Subjects: 30 for 30; Baseball coaches; Baseball players; Baseball programs; Batting (Baseball); College athletes; College sports; ESPN (Television network); Home runs (Baseball); Major League Baseball (Organization); Pitching (Baseball); Southeastern Conference; University of Kentucky--Sports--History

00:37:00 - Coaching Jeff Keener

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Partial Transcript: Do you feel like you helped Jeff Keener become the pitcher he became?

Segment Synopsis: Madison recalls coaching Jeff Keener and how the best thing he could do was to stay out of Keener's way and let him play. Madison shares that while he tweaked a few things on Keener's pitch, he largely allowed him to pitch how he liked to. Madison felt that Keener could have been a top reliever in the big leagues until a pitching coach changed up his pitching technique.

Keywords: Advice; Arm slots; Breaking ball; College transfers; Jeff Keener; MLB; Major league baseball players; Major leagues; Pitchers; Pitches; Pitching coaches; Southeastern Conference (SEC)

Subjects: Baseball coaches; Baseball players; Baseball programs; Baseball teams; College athletes; College sports--Coaching; Major League Baseball (Organization); Pitching (Baseball); Southeastern Conference; University of Kentucky--Baseball

00:41:45 - All-opponent team

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Partial Transcript: I've got one more question for you here, um, and it's something--and I'm going to put you on the spot a little bit, okay?

Segment Synopsis: Madison shares opponents that would make up his all-opponent team. Madison names several players on opposing teams who dominated against his team.

Keywords: All-opponent teams; Batters; Ben McDonald; Bo Jackson; Brad Henderson; Casey Dunn; Catchers; Chris Burke; Draft picks; Dugouts; Frank Thomas; Greg Olson; John Burke; Leaders; Louisiana State University (LSU); Opponents; Pete Young; Pitchers; Relievers; SEC baseball; Southeastern Conference; Southeastern Conference (SEC); Statistics; Strikeouts; Tim Hudson; Todd Helton; Will Clark

Subjects: Baseball coaches; Baseball players; Batting (Baseball); Catching (Baseball); College coaches; College sports--Kentucky; Leadership; Pitching (Baseball); Professional sports; University of Kentucky--Baseball; Wounds and injuries

00:49:49 - Closing remarks

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Partial Transcript: Well, well, is there anything else that you would like to, to get on here?

Segment Synopsis: Madison concludes the interview by thanking the University of Kentucky, specifically the oral history center for highlighting the importance of athletics.

Keywords: Assistant coaches; Athletics; College coaches; Head coaches; Honors; Oral history; Oral history departments; University of Kentucky Oral History

Subjects: Baseball coaches; Baseball programs; Baseball--Coaching; College sports; College sports--Coaching; College sports--Kentucky; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky--Sports--History