Gibbs Keeton promoted to assistant coaching position
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No stranger to Lubbock or the West Texas soccer community, Gibbs Keeton enters his seventh season with the Texas Tech soccer program and his third in the role as an assistant coach.
Keeton, a 2006 Texas Tech alumnus, served as the program's volunteer assistant coach from 2009-12 before his promotion to a full-time position prior to the 2013 season. He oversees the Red Raider goalkeepers and defense while also assisting with recruiting and all other aspects of the program.
In his first season as a full-time assistant, the Red Raiders snapped the school record for wins for the second-consecutive year after going 18-2-3 overall and advancing to the NCAA second round. Texas Tech also went 6-0-2 in Big 12 play en route to a second-place finish in the conference standings, the highest in school history.
The Texas Tech defense played a big part in its success in 2013 as the Red Raiders posted a school-record 17 shutouts. The strong play from the back line resulted in the Red Raiders closing the year with a .739 shutout percentage that ranked second nationally. Texas Tech also ranked among the top 10 teams in the country for goals against average (third) and save percentage (sixth).
Under Keeton's guidance, Victoria Esson wrapped her illustrious career in scarlet and black as one of the nation's top goalkeepers. The New Zealand native allowed just nine goals as a senior for a .401 goals-against average that ranked fourth nationally. Her .875 save percentage also finished ninth in the country and tops in the Big 12.
Esson joined defenders Haley Haagsma and Jaelene Hinkle among the five Red Raiders selected to the All-Big 12 teams at the end of the regular season. Senior transfer Kansas Bayly, another defensive standout, was also honored on the All-Big 12 Newcomer Team.
Hinkle, meanwhile, was recognized at the national level, earning NSCAA All-Region first team honors before eventually being named a third-team All-American by the organization. It marked just the second time in program history where a Red Raider had received All-America accolades. Hinkle added second-team All-America honors in 2014 as well.
Faced with Esson’s graduation, Keeton transformed Lauren Watson into one of the Big 12’s top goalkeepers in 2014 as the Red Raiders posted nine shutouts on the way to a 16-4-1 overall record and their first-ever trip to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Championship. Watson’s debut ranked the sophomore second all-time in Tech single-season history as her nine shutouts and 0.82 goals-against average trailed only Esson’s totals from 2013.
Her strong play earned Watson recognition on the All-Big 12 second team, marking the second-straight year where a Red Raider goalkeeper has been honored by the conference coaches. Watson played every minute in goal for the Red Raiders where she collected 69 saves and allowed just 19 goals.
Keeton has been part of Tom Stone's staff for most of his tenure, assisting with daily training and match preparations. He has also been actively involved in the Texas Tech Academy, summer camps and developing the current Texas Tech soccer fitness program.
Within the Lubbock community, the El Paso native was instrumental in bringing local organizations together in order to form one major club in West Texas. He is currently serving as the Director of Coaching for the FC Dallas WTX soccer club and remains the coach for the '98 boys' team that plays in the Dallas Classic league.
Keeton, who holds a United States Soccer Federation `B' license, earned his undergraduate degree in health, exercise and sports science from Texas Tech before receiving his master's degree in exercise physiology - also from Texas Tech. He spent most of his time as the volunteer assistant while also teaching in the ESS department following graduation.
Keeton played soccer collegiately at Grand Canyon University and was a member of the Arizona Sahuaros of the Professional Development League prior to enrolling at Texas Tech.
His coaching experience also extends into several collegiate camps including Texas A&M, Colorado, Santa Clara and Alma (Michigan) College.