Joe Keller – Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame
The first football schedule for Leon Godchaux High School, better known then as Reserve and now as East St. John, was played in 1924. A total of 17 players dressed out for the first game, against Jesuit, and the Wildcats were easily handled, 39-0.
But on that team was a young quarterback named Joseph Lucien Keller, who would go on, not only to star as a player, but also as the coach of the Wildcats from 1934-1970.
In 1927, Keller was the senior captain of the Reserve team and he became the school’s first all-state player. Renowned for his speed, Keller’s biographer records that the young man ran a speed of “10-flat” in the 100-yard dash. After turning down scholarship offers to Tulane and Loyola, Keller went on to LSU.
In 1934, he returned to his alma mater as its head football coach. He would spend the next 38 years coaching generations of young men in the River Parishes. He won 15 district championship and, in 1958, the state championship. In all, Keller compiled a record of 262-73-15.
Today his name lives on as Joe Keller Stadium, the home of the East St. John Wildcats.