JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 27, 2004) - The ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics welcomed back one of the all-time greats in the program's history on Saturday, as over 6,000 fans gathered to welcome back Keith "Mister" Jennings to Memorial Center.
Fans were treated to a basketball clinic hosted by Jennings in Brooks Gym prior to the ETSU men's game against Fresno State. Then, at halftime of the game, ETSU representatives along with dignitaries from the City of Johnson City and Washington County presented the ETSU great with proclamations for Keith "Mister" Jennings Day.
In addition, former coaches, players and family surrounded Mister, as ETSU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dave Mullins and ETSU President Dr. Paul E. Stanton Jr., presented Mister with his retired jersey.
"This is such an honor to come back to a place where you are so loved," Jennings said. "I'm thankful for my time here at ETSU and what this program has accomplished."
Keith "Mister" Jennings was the main catalyst and most visible player during an unprecedented streak of three-straight Southern Conference Championships for the East Tennessee State men's basketball team from 1989 to 1991. During that time, Jennings not only led the Buccaneers to team successes that included three-straight visits to the NCAA Tournament and a No. 10 national ranking in 1991, but he also became the most decorated individual player in ETSU athletic history.
While he still ranks No. 4 all-time on the NCAA career list for assists with 983, Jennings was known across the country as one of the preeminent point guards in all of NCAA basketball. However, Jennings was not only a distributor of the basketball. He finished No. 2 all-time on the ETSU scoring list with 1,988 points, and shot a remarkable 59 percent from the floor as a senior - including a sparkling 59 percent from 3-point-range which led the nation in 1991. He ranks second all-time on the NCAA career list for 3-point field goal percentage, hitting on 49.3 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.
Amidst all those achievements came an extensive list of awards and honors. Jennings was named the winner of the Naismith Award in 1991, which goes to the nation's top player under six feet. In addition, he was selected as the Southern Conference Player of the Year, the Southern Conference Tournament MVP, and was named All-America by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and the Associated Press.
After his college days, Jennings played professionally in both Europe and the United States for 13 seasons, including a three-year stint with the NBA's Golden State Warriors (1992-95) and a one-year stop with the NBA's Denver Nuggets (1996-97). Today, Jennings is the head varsity basketball coach at Highland School in Warrenton, Va. He and his wife Rachel have two children, Keith Jr., 9, and Kaycee, 6.