Over the last 12 years, Kyle Keese has developed a strength and conditioning program at Guyer that is widely recognized as one of the best — not only across Texas but the nation as well.
His work has led several coaches to flock to Guyer to learn from Keese, who has become synonymous with excellence in the industry. On Friday, after more than a decade as Guyer’s director of strength and conditioning, Keese earned one of the most prestigious honors in the business.
The man Guyer football coach John Walsh calls a pioneer was named Southwest Region Coach of the Year by the National High School Strength Coaches Association.
“It’s been a real thrill,” Keese said. “I’m thankful for it, but honestly, it’s not going to change anything about me. Every day is a new day, and wanting to push these kids to new levels is my top priority. Winning an award — I’m thankful to be recognized, but I’m more worried about trying to get these kids right for the future, not just in sports but in life.”
Keese’s preeminent program, which draws inspiration from LSU’s Tommy Moffitt, is centered around Olympic-style weight training and lifting. Power cleans and jerks, which work a variety of muscle groups, are staples in the Guyer weight room.
The purpose, Keese said, is twofold.
“I think it’s made our kids a lot more explosive in the long run. Not just doing those types of lifts, but doing them properly,” Keese said. “At first, some kids may be kind of hesitant to strength train. But you try to really educate them on how it can improve their performance.
“More than anything, it can help reduce injuries. You can’t 100% prevent injuries, but I know this for sure — kids that strength train are less likely to get injured and more easily recover. It’s definitely beneficial.”
Another key element for Keese is tailoring workouts to meet the needs of athletes in their specific sports. Rather than use a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all plan, Keese modifies exercise regimens by sport.
And in some cases, by athlete.
“If you were to interview our parents over the last decade — who was influential in their child, it would be Kyle Keese,” Walsh said. “Not just because they’re strong and look good in the mirror with their shirt off, but because he’s really personal with them. He helps personalize the program for what the kids’ needs are. I think what separates Kyle is he understands by sport and by position how that body needs to train.
“He’s made a tremendous impact on our performance — there’s no question.”
The results speak for themselves.
Keese was on the staff in 2012 and 2013 when Guyer won consecutive state titles in football and continues to be an integral part of the Wildcats’ success. With 17 returning starters this fall, excitement surrounding Guyer’s football program is palpable.
Keese knows what it takes to win. But perhaps more importantly, he knows what it takes to win consistently.
“[Winning] is done in the shadows,” Keese said. “It isn’t glorified a lot. In a lot of sports, [strength and conditioning] can be the difference in winning championships or winning games. Not only that, but staying power. Not just being a one-season phenom, but being successful for multiple seasons.”
As for his award, Keese thanked his wife, Kayla, who coaches track and field at Guyer, for being his biggest supporter. He also thanked Walsh, the other coaches at Guyer and the athletes for buying in to his program.
“The way Kyle studies what the body needs and what the body has to do at a high level — really, in high school football, he’s kind of a pioneer of it,” Walsh said. “He studies it hard. He’s a scholar. He’s got every acumen you can have when it comes to training the body and the mind. He continues to work to get better and seek out the best in the business. I think he’s turned himself into one of the best of the business.”