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Ben Keith

Hammer Club, Shot Put, Discus

Ben begins his 28th year of coaching track and field, with experience at both the high school and collegiate levels.

Ben started his coaching career in 1990 as an assistant football and track and field coach at Franklin Pierce High School in Parkland. While at FPHS, the boy’s team won the 1993 Boys Pierce County League and AA State Title. Previously in 1992, Ben began a dual coaching role as he was hired at his alma mater, Pacific Lutheran University, as the Men’s and Women’s Hammer coach. At the conclusion of the 1993 season, Ben resigned at FPHS to be able to focus primarily on his responsibilities at PLU. In 1996, Ben took over coaching the Men’s and Women’s shot put and discus as well as the hammer throw. While on the staff at PLU, the Men’s and Women’s teams won a combined 7 Northwest Conference Track and Field Championships, along with numerous top 5 finishes at the NAIA National Championships. PLU joined the NCAA Division III ranks in 1999 and enjoyed the most successful season in program history as the Men’s team finished 2 nd place at the National Championships, with the Women’s team finishing 3rd at the same National Championship meet. While at PLU, athletes under Ben’s direction earned a total of 11 Northwest Conference Individual Championships, with 19 athletes earning All-American status (top 8 in the nation), including three throwers who were crowned National Champions in an individual event.

In 1999, Ben resigned from PLU and joined the coaching staff at Steilacoom High School. While Ben was a part of the Steilacoom coaching staff, the SHS Boy’s team achieved back to back State Championship titles in 2000 and 2001, while the Girl’s team won a State Championship title in 2002.

Ben joined the coaching staff at Gig Harbor High School prior to the start of the 2005 track and field season with responsibility for coaching the Shot Put and Discus. He had an immediate impact as his athletes scored crucial points in both Gig Harbor’s ‘05 state boys’ team title and ’06 team runner-up.

Taking a leave of absence from Gig Harbor following the 2009 season, Ben returned to Steilacoom High School for two years. While there he mentored Shreese Daniels to state titles in the shot put and discus in 2011, additionally teaching the future Wyoming All-American to throw the hammer and indoor weight. He returned to the Tides in 2012 just in time to coach scoring athletes on the boys state championship team and girls 4th place team. More recently he guided Connor Jost to a runner-up finish in state shot put, Hadassah Ward to a school record and three consecutive state titles in the shot put, and Samuel Peacock to the 2019 state Shot Put title.

In his near two decades coaching high school track and field, Ben has mentored 6 individual high school athletes to 10 individual state titles, in addition to over 30 individual state placers and 10 state team titles. We are lucky to have, objectively, one of the most accomplished coaches in the sport in our state.

While Ben's athletes own many of the top marks in both shot and discus in Gig Harbor history, his influence extends well outside those two events. As his record shows, Ben is committed to excellence. He provides a valuable voice for the direction of the Gig Harbor program and brings a level of energy to it that is unique and indispensable. He has spoken several times at both local clinics and the Washington State Track and Field Coaches Association Convention, and can still throw the hammer if prodded. He works in Seattle and commutes to coach at Gig Harbor while living locally and enjoying his children, grandchild, and all things Seahawks.

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