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Storm offer tribute to former coach’s family after game

Keith Showers

Keith Showers

By Emily Sisk Photo by David Hallett

Keith Showers might have cared a lot about Storm basketball, but he cared more about the men playing it.

During the men’s basketball game on Feb. 21, the front rows of the stands were full of special guests: the family and friends of Keith Showers, who attended to honor the late patriarch.

Showers died in October of a massive stroke.

After the men’s game ended at 9 p.m., Showers’ family and the Storm players held a memorial near the trophy cases in Bldg. 7.

Showers was the first Chemeketa men’s basketball coach in 1969 and later became the athletic director. His wife, Arlene, who attended the memorial, was involved in Disability Services and mentoring at Chemeketa.

After retiring, Showers remained active in the basketball program until his sudden passing; he hardly ever missed a basketball game.

Showers and his wife mentored Storm basketball players, often inviting them to their home for meals and to help with schoolwork.

At the memorial, players, coaches, and three generations of the Showers family shared cake and stories about the ultimate Storm fan.

Instead of mourning Showers, the event was a reflection of his endearing positivity, full of laughs and inspirational anecdotes.

Showers’ son Scott was the first to address the group and remember his father.

“There’s not a vivid memory that I don’t have from my childhood that doesn’t involve the Salem Armory, this building, Clackamas Community College, Linn-Benton Community College … we were always with you guys,” he said.

Many stories were told about Showers’ devotion to the Storm. It was common for him to drive to places like Yakima just to watch a Chemeketa basketball game.

Current coach David Abderhalden joked about how Showers would spend time in Abderhalden’s office twice a week during basketball season to go over the last game.

“It was really refreshing,” he said. “It was usually a really quick meeting of, oh, about 20 minutes.”

Abderhalden also was quick to point out how much he valued Showers’ advice and his love for his family, who he talked about even more than basketball.

The tribute took a more emotional turn as two of Showers’ grandchildren shared their experiences with him, with one calling Showers her “biggest fan” in a heartfelt poem. He supported his grandchildren’s sports activities just as much as the Storm’s.

After the Showers family finished, they opened the floor up to the Storm players. Sophomore Jordan Ewell was the first to share with the crowd.

“Mr. Keith meant a lot to me,” he said. “He was always asking me, ‘Did you eat today?’ ‘Yes Mr. Keith, I ate today.’ ‘You’re so skinny. You need to get some girth on you. My wife’s making dinner tonight. You sure you don’t want to come over?’

“He just always looked out for me. He had great words of wisdom.”

For Sophomore Darrien Christian, one Showers memory stood out in particular.

“It was kind of weird because the first time I met him, he knew my first and last name, and he knew where I was from,” Christian said.

Showers also gave Christian motivation and several pep talks after he was injured and couldn’t play.

After the speeches, Storm assistant Dominique Lawrence led the group in a traditional team break. The Storm and Showers family huddled together with raised arms and exuberantly honored their mentor:

“One, two, three, FAMILY! Three, two, one, ONE!”

Abderhalden explained the team chant, which was a fitting way to informally end the gathering.

“The significance of one for us is that it stands for Own Now Every day. In this program and in our lives, we always want to take advantage of every second we have,” he said.

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