By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.
SCOTTVILLE — Most of the world knows Maynard James Keenan as a rock star. He is probably best known as the vocalist for ¬†the Grammy Award-winning band Tool along with the bands A Perfect Circle and Puscifer. Most recently, he has turned much of his interests towards his Arizona vineyards and wineries.
But, for many of us here in Mason County, he‚Äôs Jim Keenan, Mason County Central Class of ‚Äė82, wrestler and all-state runner. That‚Äôs who he‚Äôs been this week. Keenan flew in Tuesday and since Wednesday has been practicing with the MCC wrestling team, getting them ready for Saturday‚Äôs Optimist Tournament in Scottville.
Keenan was at today‚Äôs tournament cheering on the team, along with his dad, former MCC teacher and wrestling coach Mike Keenan, who lives in Eden Township.
‚ÄúI got involved with the team last year after I found out that Jim Allen was coaching,‚ÄĚ Maynard said. ‚ÄúJim and I wrestled together and I knew that he would give the kids the type of work ethic and pride that we grew up with. I knew they would have the drive under Jim‚Äôs leadership.‚ÄĚ
Allen said he got a call from Maynard last year asking what he could do to help the team.
‚ÄúI said that we wanted to send the kids down to Olivet College to the wrestling camp there, but a lot of them didn‚Äôt have the money. So, he required the kids to write an essay about what wrestling means to them and why it was important for them to go the camp. He paid for all 16 kids to go down there.‚ÄĚ
Maynard said he knew the Olivet program would benefit the wrestlers.
‚ÄúI was not a very good wrestler. But, when our team went to Olivet it made a big difference in my own wrestling and also my teammates.‚ÄĚ Maynard said that he was happy to make the investment.
‚ÄúOnce you‚Äôre a wrestler, it‚Äôs just something that sticks with you,‚ÄĚ Allen said. ‚ÄúMaynard — I call him Jim — is very humble. He may be a rock star traveling the world but his heart is here in Scottville, helping these kids.‚ÄĚ
“Last year Maynard showed up and made a lot of observations,” Allen said. ‚ÄúThis year he got on the mats and practiced with the kids. I‚Äôm not really sure if a lot of them realize how big of a deal this is. Like I said, he‚Äôs very humble.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI took a look at all the people who Coach Allen had helping out and many of these guys were teammates of mine. I figured I wanted to do what I could to help these wrestlers be successful.‚ÄĚ
Athletic Director Tim Genson, who also went to school with Maynard, said it‚Äôs a great inspiration for the students.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs an alumnus of MCC. He came from this town, that‚Äôs pretty cool,‚ÄĚ Genson said. ‚ÄúWe really appreciate him being here showing the kids that he cares about their success.‚ÄĚ
MCC teacher and cross-country coach Ed Sanders said having Maynard help the kids is a tremendous boost to their morale. Sanders said he was a freshman when Maynard was a senior and he remembers that he was a great runner. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs great to see MCC alumni be successful but it‚Äôs even greater to see them come home and take stock in our kids.‚ÄĚ
Maynard said he‚Äôs impressed with the team.
‚ÄúThey have a lot of talent here and these kids have a lot of potential. It‚Äôs a good team.‚ÄĚ
Mike Keenan was wrestling coach in the late ‚Äė70s up until 1982. He‚Äôs been hanging out with the team as well. He said he‚Äôs been enjoying watching his former team now coach a new generation.
Professionally, Keenan said he‚Äôs been working on some music projects but spends most of his time at his wine operation, Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars near Jerome, Az.