|Organization:||ABCA/Central Michigan University|
The 2002 recipient of the prestigious ABCA/Wilson Lefty Gomez Award, Dave Keilitz is the former head baseball coach at Central Michigan University and was the Executive Director of the ABCA from 1994-2014.
During Keilitz's time as Executive Director, the association's membership and the number attending the annual convention grew significantly. In addition, the ABCA Board of Directors was established and legislation accomplishments, such as bracket expansion in all divisions, change of season legislation in Division I, ball and bat standards for college play, and recruiting, practice and playing rules, took place under his watch. Keilitz has also served on several ABCA committees and was president of the organization in 1982. He remains a member of the ABCA's Board of Directors.
Keilitz represented Central Michigan with success and merit throughout a career that spanned four decades. From his time as an award-winning baseball student-athlete to his years as a coach, then administrator, Keilitz has impacted the athletics landscape at local, conference and national levels.
Keilitz arrived at CMU as a student-athlete in the fall of 1960 and altered the course of Chippewa athletic history forever.
In 1964, Keilitz became Central Michigan's first All-American baseball player. By the time his collegiate playing days came to an end, Keilitz had established 19 game, season and career records for the Chippewas.
After serving the 1964-65 season as a graduate assistant, Keilitz was appointed coach of the CMU freshman baseball team. In five years in that position, he established an 84-26 record.
In June of 1970 Keilitz was elevated to head coach. He started his head-coaching career by leading CMU to a No. 1 national ranking and into the NCAA College Division national championship game. It would be the first of six NCAA Championship appearances for Keilitz's Chippewas.
After joining the MAC in 1973, his teams captured four conference championships. He was named MAC Coach of the Year four times and NCAA Regional Coach of the Year twice.
Throughout his 14-year coaching career, Keilitz never had a losing season, compiling a 456-203 (.692) record. He coached eight All-Americans and 51 of his players signed professional contracts, with seven eventually making it to the Major Leagues.
In 1984, Keilitz was appointed as Central Michigan's athletics director, leading the Chippewas to 26 MAC championships throughout his 10 years, a span in which every coach was named MAC Coach of the Year at least once.
Keilitz also served as a member of the NCAA Council from 1989-92 where he chaired the NCAA Baseball Committee, was a member of the NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship Committee, the NCAA Committee to Review Legislative Process and served on the NCAA Television Committee. In 1992, he chaired the committee to 'Fine Tune' Legislation from the 1991 NCAA 'Reform' Convention.
In addition to being a 1989 ABCA Hall of Fame inductee, Keilitz is a member of the Midland County Sports Hall of Fame (1991), Central Michigan Athletics Hall of Fame (1994), the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame (2008) and the Mid-American Conference Hall of Fame (2013).
Named after the great Lefty Gomez, this annual award is presented to an individual who has distinguished himself among his peers and has contributed significantly to the game of baseball locally, nationally and internationally. The Lefty Gomez Award is sponsored by Wilson Sporting Goods.