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Rudy Keeling, 66; coached men’s basketball at Northeastern and was Emerson’s athletic director, ECAC commissioner

Mr. Keeling coached Northeastern’s men’s basketball team for five seasons. Upon arrival in Boston in 1996, he told reporters that leaving Maine was a difficult decision.
Mr. Keeling coached Northeastern’s men’s basketball team for five seasons. Upon arrival in Boston in 1996, he told reporters that leaving Maine was a difficult decision.Mark Wilson/Globe Staff/file 1999

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Rudy Keeling, who coached men’s basketball at Northeastern University and the University of Maine and later became the athletic director at Emerson College and the first African-American commissioner of the Eastern College Athletic Conference, died Saturday. He was 66 and lived in Londonderry, N.H.

“He was an outstanding coach, a first-class person and representative of the University of Maine, and a beloved and highly respected member of the entire basketball coaching community,” Maine head coach Ted Woodward said on the university’s website.

In a January statement announcing Mr. Keeling’s retirement, the ECAC said that “Rudy consistently represented the ECAC and its constituency in the highest manner to other national, regional, and local athletics governing bodies and educational institutions, as well as private and public organizations.”

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