Winfield High School multi-sport coach Bryan Keim has done a very good job of never being away from sports for too long.
Keim, an Elsberry High School graduate, played pretty much everything available to him growing up.
“I was a three-sport athlete in high school. I was very fortunate to be a three-sport athlete in college as well,” Keim said.
After high school, Keim attended Hannibal-LaGrange College.
At Hannibal-LaGrange, Keim played baseball, J.V. basketball and soccer.
If anyone out there ever played a collegiate sport or had a friend or family member that has, then they’ll know what a massive undertaking playing just one at that level can be.
All the travel, extensive training hours first thing in the morning and after classes in the afternoon while still maintaining a high enough grade point average to keep eligibility. It’s a lot of responsibility. And that’s just one sport. Playing three is a completely different monster. But it was a challenge Keim doesn’t seem he would have ever wanted to live without.
“Being a three-sport athlete in high school really helped because I was already kind of used to one sport to the next to the next and being able to prioritize time for academics and whatnot,” Keim said.
After college, Keim remained knee-deep in athletics.
“I’ve been involved with either baseball or softball since I’ve been teaching and this is year 12 for me,” he said.
In those 12 years, Keim spent one year at Mexico, four years at Elsberry, two years at Bowling Green and has been at Winfield for the past five years. Keim also teaches physical education and health-oriented courses at Winfield, and even helped implement a new weight lifting program into the curriculum.
“When I was in high school, I didn’t really understand the importance of working out, until I got to college. Then it’s a whole new experience. We offer seven hours a day of weightlifting for our athletes. Getting them prepared for the next level is awesome,” Keim said.
Playing so many sports growing up and through college and taking on so many responsibilities such as coaching multiple teams, Keim is someone who understands how to work hard and work smart.
A strong work ethic is one of the things he wants to pass to every one of his players.
“A big thing I kind of live and die by is getting kids to understand how important work ethic is and taking pride in what you do. Regardless of whatever they do after high school, whether they get into the job force or go to college or whatever, understanding that whatever task you take on, you have to do it to the best of your ability,” Keim said.
He added that team sports are great for teaching kids those hard working principles because it isn’t all about the individual.
“You don’t just rely on yourself to do what you’re supposed to do, other people are relying on you.”
Keim is currently the girls softball and boys basketball coach, and with the softball season fast approaching, he is looking forward to hitting the ground running.
Keim said that after losing some key seniors, they have some roles that need filling, but he said that he has some talented, multi-faceted players.
“We have great talent and we have great depth, which is exciting,” Keim said.
Though he is clearly a lover of all sports, Keim said his heart lies in basketball.
“It’s funny because I got recruited to play baseball in college, was obviously fortunate enough to get to play other sports, but baseball was a passion of mine for a long time. As I’ve grown older, I’ve fallen in love with basketball. Basketball is now my biggest passion. But getting into coaching softball, I didn’t know I’d enjoy it as much as I did. I’m a basketball junkie but I really enjoy being around softball."