News Releases - Athletes in Action

Former Texas A&M Head Coach and Wife 2020 Winners of Coach Wooden “Keys to Life” Award

Award will be Presented to Billy and Mary Kennedy at Legends of the Hardwood Breakfast During Final Four Weekend

February 25, 2020

The 2020 Coach Wooden “Keys to Life” Award will be presented to former Texas A&M men’s basketball head coach Billy Kennedy and his wife Mary during the 24th annual Legends of the Hardwood Breakfast, hosted by Athletes in Action during NCAA Men’s Final Four weekend. Established in 1998, the Coach Wooden "Keys to Life" Award honors basketball figures who model the characteristics of UCLA men’s basketball coaching legend John Wooden, including his high level of moral character, integrity and faith, on and off the court. This marks the first time it has been awarded to a couple, not just a coach.

Billy Kennedy embodies the remarkable faith and character reflected in the “Keys to Life” award. During his nearly 35 years as a collegiate head coach, Billy is remembered as much for his positive outlook and integrity as he is for his basketball achievements. He led the Aggies to the Sweet 16 twice and guided the Southeastern Louisiana Lions to two Southland Conference regular season titles and the school’s first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. During his tenure at Murray State, he was named Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Coach of the Year twice, NABC District-19 Coach of the Year, and the Racers were honored with the OVC Men’s Basketball Sportsmanship Award.

In addition to his achievements on the court, Billy is known for his hopeful and hardworking response to his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, which came shortly after accepting his position at Texas A&M.  

Attending to his health and fitness, Mary  was instrumental in Billy's success in leading the Aggies to their first regular season conference title in 30 years. Mary and Billy are the personification of a team collaboratively working together. 

“Athletes in Action is honored to name Billy and Mary Kennedy as the recipients of the 2020 Coach Wooden “Keys to Life” Award,” said Mark Householder, president of Athletes in Action. “While Billy’s achievements in basketball and as a man of faith are remarkable, it is Mary’s strength and service, and their partnership which truly sets them apart.

The Kennedys join an elite group of basketball greats who have received the honor, including John Beilein, Dick Bennett, Rick Barnes, Jerry Colangelo, Del Harris, Mark Price, David Robinson, Lorenzo Romar, Cazzie Russell and Paul Westphal. 

Saturday, April 4, 2020
9 a.m. CST

Sheraton Grand Hotel
165 Courtland St NE 
Atlanta, GA 30303

The event is open to the media. Credentials may be obtained on-site or in advance. On-site media contact: Anna Hutsell, 770.713.0923.

The event will be emceed by Fox Sports analyst Chris Broussard and ESPN sportscaster Jimmy Dykes. 

Registration information about the 2020 Legends of the Hardwood Breakfast is available at 800.416.9473 and

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