VCU baseball coach Keyes takes leave due to illness

Published: Apr. 11, 2012 at 11:23 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 12, 2012 at 12:27 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The longtime head coach of the VCU baseball team has now begun the battle for his life.

VCU head coach Paul Keyes has told those close to him that he has an early diagnosis of cancer.  He's awaiting test results that will determine the severity of the disease.

Keyes began feeling back pain last month, and when it got so bad he could barely come to the ballpark he went to MCV to get it checked out.  That's when he was given the diagnosis.

Keyes told his players Wednesday night at a team meeting at 7:30.  He will take a leave from the team that he has coached for 18 seasons to fight the disease.

The Old Dominion graduate is far and away the winningest coach in VCU baseball history.  His win total is 576, well over 200 more than anyone else. Keyes has built the program with local talent - currently 16 of his 30 current players hail from Central Virginia. He's led the Rams to the NCAA tournament eight times.

Associate Head Coach Shawn Stiffler will be the acting coach in Keyes's place.  VCU plays its first game without its coach Friday in Delaware.

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