Keith Piper came to Denison as an assistant coach in 1951. Three years later he was named the Big Red’s 17th head football coach and went on to collect 200 victories. This landmark places him in very exclusive company, as one of only 18 coaches in the history of college football to win 200 games at the same institution. Piper completed his career at Denison as the second winningest college football coach in the state of Ohio. He guided the Big Red to 10-0 and 9-1 seasons in 1985 and 1986, as his DU gridders earned back to back conference championship titles.
In his 39-year career as head coach, Piper’s teams compiled an impressive 200-142-19 overall record. Piper’s charges were consistently ranked among the NCAA Division III national leaders in total, rushing and scoring offense. What makes these statistics more remarkable is the fact that Piper employed the single wing, an offensive set that nearly disappeared from college and professional football in the early 50’s. Until Piper’s retirement, Denison was the only college in America to utilize the archaic offense.
The Columbus Touchdown Club selected Piper as its 1985 Coach of the Year, and he was the North Coast Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, both in 1985 and 1986. The 1986 assemblies of the state House of Representatives and Senate each passed proclamations hailing the achievements of Coach Piper, and in the spring of 1993, the U.S. House of Representatives officially recognized Coach Piper for his lasting contributions to college football and the entire realm of college athletics. He was also honored by his alma mater, Baldwin-Wallace College near Cleveland, with its Distinguished Alumnus Citation.