Athletics Hall of Fame Spotlight

Joe McKeown, Men's Basketball



Former MCCC men’s basketball star Joe McKeown and MCCC Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2024 Inductee is the Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Northwestern University.  McKeown became the sixth women’s head coach in Northwestern program history in June 2008.


McKeown is fourth among active Big 10 coaches in total wins and has had winning seasons eight out of 13 years.  McKeown was one of five semifinalists for the Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year following a 26 win season in 2019-2020 and the Wildcats first Big 10 regular season title since 1989-1990.


In July 2015, McKeown was selected as Head Coach of the USA women’s representative to the World University Games held in Seoul, Korea.  McKeown led the USA to six wins at the World Games including the gold medal in a win over Canada.


Prior to Northwestern, McKeown was Head Women’s Basketball Coach at George Washington University for 19 years.  McKeown is the winningest coach in school history and in the Atlantic 10 Conference and went 441-154.  McKeown led George Washington to the Elite 8 in 1997 and advanced to the Sweet 16 three times (1995, 2007 and 2008).  McKeown was a five time Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year and was nominated twice as National Coach of the Year while at GWU in 1995 and 1997.  McKeown was inducted into George Washington’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.


McKeown was Head Women’s Basketball Coach at New Mexico State for three seasons before becoming Head Coach at GWU.  In three seasons at New Mexico State, McKeown went 68-20 and led the Aggies to two NCAA Tournament appearances.  McKeown also served as Assistant Women’s Coach at University of Oklahoma from 1983-1986 and one season as Assistant Women’s Coach at Kent State University, his alma mater.


McKeown was named the Junior College National Small Player of the Year and helped lead MCCC to the National Championship in 1974 following a 33-1 season.  After his two seasons at MCCC, McKeown transferred to Kent State, where he earned Honorable Mention All-Midland Conference honors.  McKeown holds the Kent State single game assist record of 15 that still stands today.


In addition to his success on the basketball court, McKeown has done also a great deal off the court, for a cause close to him and his family, autism.  McKeown’s youngest son, Joey was diagnosed with autism in the early 1990s.  A lot was not known about autism at this time, which made the demands of both coaching and raising a family particularly challenging for McKeown.  The diagnosis led McKeown to Chicago and Northwestern, seeking more answers at a time when little was known about the disorder.


McKeown helped to organize an annual Autism Awareness Day at a Northwestern basketball game for families traveling from Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan.  The game gives families a chance to see a college basketball game and also raise community awareness about autism.  McKeown is also very involved in the Autism Speaks Foundation, a national organization that raises awareness and money for autism.


Coaching in the Big 10, has also given McKeown a front row seat to Iowa University’s Caitlin Clark, who recently passed Pete Maravich as the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer. 


Northwestern women’s basketball 2024 season came to an end following a first round loss vs Purdue in the Big 10 Tournament.  The wins have accumulated for McKeown over the years, but so has the growth of the women’s game, a support and understanding for autism and a family love of basketball.  McKeown coached his daughter, Meghan for three seasons while at Northwestern.


McKeown’s college basketball career began at Mercer County Community College and led him to one of the biggest and best NCAA conferences in the country.


To follow Coach McKeown and Northwestern women’s basketball, visit:


To learn more about the 2024 MCCC Athletic Hall of Fame Class, visit: 


Joe McKeown (far right) with brother John McKeown, Athletic Director Al Leister and Coach Howie Landa



Joe McKeown talking with Iowa University's women's coaches prior to a 2023 game