Over the years there have been few people in Mountain Lakes as memorable as Jeff Keith. Whether it was the LONG beard, his energetic personality or just the way he connected with people, Mr. Keith usually left a memorable impression!
This past year winter Jeff Keith was honored for his dedication to the Mountain Lakes School District as he has been the MLHS Ski Coach for 30 years. Over the past 30 years, Jeff Keith has won twenty championships including State Championships in 2013 and 2015 with the Lakers. He had a big impact on many of the students he taught and coached in ML. Mr. Keith was also a dedicated teacher at Wildwood and Briarcliff schools before retiring from the classroom.
Mr. Keith was always known for his care and preservation of the environment. Every year at the end of the ski season Mr. Keith would make a mini skier out of recycled materials for every individual racer on the team. Several alumni said they still have their mini skiers as a reminder of the time they spent on the ski team and with Mr. Keith. To honor Coach Keith’s 30th year of coaching the ski team made a giant replica of the mini skiers and presented him with a chair made out of old skis.
Each year Coach Keith writes a season poem for the end of the year dinner that he reads to his team and their parents. He has composed 30 different poems. Each poem reflects in a clever way the ski season and the skier on the team. In 2013, Mr. Keith did something he had not done in over 20 years. He shaved his beard as an incentive for the team! Mr. Keith challenged both his teams to win state championships that year and told them he would shave his beard if they did. The teams responded, both winning state championships. There was a big assembly at Wildwood school as Mr. Keith celebrated with his first shave in many, many years!
His impact was also felt outside of the ML Community as he served as the President of the High School Ski Racing Association for many years. He is respected by the entire High School Ski Racing Association and has played a major role in the way New Jersey’s high school racing has evolved over the years. Congratulations Coach Keith on 30 wonderful years with the Lakers!