McKeel to Join RHS Hall of Fame

Thursday, July 31, 2014
RHS Hall of Fame selection Les McKeel

Les McKeel is part of an outstanding 2014 Rector High School Sports Hall of Fame class. McKeel, nicknamed "Mac", was an outstanding athlete during his time at Rector High School, graduating in 1936. With records dating back to the period limited, much of McKeel's achievements have been passed on through the years by word-of-mouth and his continued excellence as a collegiate and independent athlete.

McKeel lettered in basketball and football at RHS, and was also a standout baseball player.

After a successful period as a student at Rector, McKeel followed in his brother Ethridge's footsteps, playing basketball and baseball at Kentucky Teacher's College, now known as Murray State. A 6'2" guard, McKeel was named to the All-Kentucky Intercollegiate Conference First Team in basketball in 1941, as a senior. The same year, he was selected to the All-Southern Association First Team in basketball. In collegiate baseball, McKeel played four positions for KTC: second base, shortstop, centerfield and pitcher. In baseball, he was coached by the legendary Carlisle Citchin, known widely as a top collegiate coach.

McKeel remained active into adulthood. While playing AAU basketball in 1945, McKeel was selected to the Victory Basketball League's Honor Team. He scored 260 points in 15 games, averaging 17.4 points per contest while sinking 102 field goals and 56 free throws. As a member of Rector's independent basketball team in 1949, McKeel was an outstanding shooter who helped Rector notch numerous victories, including a pivotal 63-60 win over Jonesboro in which he netted 21 points.

Playing independent baseball, McKeel was named Rector's "Mr. Shortstop" in 1946. With the Rector Redbirds independent team in 1949, McKeel hit two homeruns, with his brother Jim adding one, too, against the Major League barnstorming team during an exhibition game in Rector.

McKeel also shared his knowledge locally, coaching basketball at Piggott in 1947 and football in Rector during 1947-1948.

A member of the talented McKeel family, Les' full list of athletic achievements at Rector is likely lost to time with the absence of complete records and stats. Still, the accolades which remain through the years show an unmistakable talent in three sports. His later achievements in basketball and baseball, while competing against the highest caliber of opponents, easily rank him among the most accomplished athletes in the history of Rector and northeast Arkansas as a whole.

McKeel is joined by Don Sinko, Paul Temerian and Rudy Pruett in the Induction Class of 2014. The induction ceremony will be part of the annual Hall of Fame Luncheon at the Rector High School gym, at which time representatives of the individual inductees will be presented with a plaque. The luncheon will be at noon Saturday, Aug. 30, with the induction ceremony immediately following the meal. Details regarding the luncheon may be obtained by contacting Owen B. Moseley at (870) 935-4039.

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