The Norman Transcript

Local news

October 26, 2009

Coach 'n' Y'all

Norman country music star Toby Keith helps coach football team

With 19 No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs, two feature movies and his own record label, Toby Keith has led a pretty spectacular life. From his days growing up in Moore to touring the country, he has seemingly done it all.

But while Keith could probably go anywhere in the country to relax and enjoy a celebrity's lifestyle, he is found six days a week and three hours a day showing seventh graders how to take in pulling guards and sack the quarterback.

Keith, a longtime Norman resident, is a member of Norman's Whittier Middle School's seventh grade football coaching staff.

"I have always been really, really close to football," Keith said. "I know some people would be surprised that being a successful songwriter, that they would think he couldn't coach. But we have been very successful at it."

This is Keith's first year with the Warriors, but it's not his time for coaching. His credentials spread back to before he made it big in the music business and includes winning titles in the Optimist league.

"It's a love for me," Keith said. "The first thing I did when I got through playing with the Oklahoma City Drillers, I had tryouts with the Oklahoma Outlaws in the USFL. I found out right there what level of player it takes to get to that next level. Even though I didn't have a kid at the time, I ran right out and started coaching little league football. And then when my son came along, I said I will be there at day one. So I just routed my schedule around it."

Keith's arrival on the scene at Whittier is not him trying to work his way up the coaching ladder. After coaching his son, Stelen Covel, throughout his grade school years, he wanted to continue the process.

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