Mr. McKeon and the Foundations of Success
Updated: Apr 17
by Nicholas Diaz
Mr. Chris McKeon is an embodiment of hard work, dedication, and success at Christopher Columbus High School. He has been at the school for over 30 years, taking on roles from teacher to assistant principal to his current position as athletic director and dean of students.
Consistently in his career, Mr. McKeon has worked to lay the foundations for the school’s success. He has been a mentor and guide for many students and faculty members in his time, even including school principal Mr. Pugh.
Mr. Pugh said, “I have looked at Mr. McKeon as a true mentor for me.”
Mr. Staiano, assistant athletic director and long-time teacher, has also noticed Mr. McKeon’s influence and direction, especially in the field of athletics.
“The heart of success is the athletes and the coaches,” he said,” but the direction and organization comes from the top… The top has to be strong, so it starts with Mr. McKeon," Mr. Staiano said.
This organizational structure has translated into success for the school’s athletics.
As Mr. Staiano commented, “During his term as athletic director, we have been the most successful.”
Mr. McKeon is the winningest athletic director in Columbus history with 18 state championships most notably in football and in basketball, two sports where Columbus has quickly risen to prominence in recent years.
Mr. McKeon has also seen success in basketball as the coach for the Our Lady of Lourdes basketball team. He recently reached his 500th win at Lourdes, an accomplishment with great significance for him.
Mr. McKeon grew up playing basketball from a very young age and had the opportunity to play in college. He said that after college he, “wanted to stay involved in basketball and an opportunity to do that was in coaching.” Being a coach for the Lourdes basketball team and an athletic director for Columbus’ two-time state championship team has maintained Mr. McKeon’s passion for basketball.
Mr. McKeon has seen success in a variety of other sports as well. Columbus just won another state championship in football and has seen tremendous state success in sports like baseball and cross country where records have improved considerably in McKeon’s time as athletic director.
As head varsity baseball Coach Weber said, “The records speak for themselves. Not much has to be said. Just look at the records of the school's success since he has been the athletic director.”
In every aspect of its athletic program, Columbus has seen growth, and the records prove that.
However, this growth has not always been so rapid.
As Mr. McKeon, himself stated, “I think we grew incrementally. We always had a decent baseball team and some good football seasons, but we built everything gradually. Like building a house, you need a foundation. We built the foundation and now the house is up and running.”
This foundation has been crucial to the success of Columbus sports, and Mr. McKeon played a crucial role in developing it.
As Coach Weber explained, “When Mr. McKeon took over as athletic director, the school was good at sports but we were not winning the state championships like we are now.”
Mr. McKeon’s support and direction were vital to this change.
It is for this reason that Mr. McKeon was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at Columbus. However, there is more to Mr. McKeon than his role as athletic director. Mr. McKeon is also notable for prioritizing academic excellence and the Marist charism as the dean of students. That is what makes him a two-time hall of famer as a member of the school hall of fame as well.
“He leads in the Marist charism. He is not just an athletic director for any school. He has done it in the right way,” Mr. Pugh said.
Marist charism has been at the center of Mr. McKeon’s dedication to Columbus' success. He has built an athletic and academic foundation for the school based in faith, which has been crucial to the school’s success.
Looking into the future, as Mr. Staiano said, “As long as Mr. McKeon is athletic director, I feel very confident that we will be successful.”
“Columbus is the greatest place to work in the world,” McKeon said. He sees himself occupying the position for a few more years. “The key to success is to have a job that you would do for free and I feel like I have that job,” he added.
But even after Mr. McKeon decides to step down, his legacy will forever shape Columbus' success. The future of Columbus will be based upon the athletic, academic, and spiritual foundation that Mr. McKeon has constructed.