Rock star Maynard Keenan comes home to help MCC wrestling team

December 7, 2013
Maynard Keenan with MCC wrestler Boone Alway, the editor's nephew.

Maynard Keenan with MCC wrestler Boone Alway, the editor’s nephew.

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.

Maynard, right, and his father, Mike, center, along with MCC teacher/coach Ed Sanders.

Maynard, right, and his father, Mike, center, along with MCC teacher/coach Ed Sanders.

But, for many of us here in Mason County, he’s Jim Keenan, Mason County Central Class of ‘82, wrestler and all-state runner. That’s who he’s been this week. Keenan flew in Tuesday and since Wednesday has been practicing with the MCC wrestling team, getting them ready for Saturday’s Optimist Tournament in Scottville.

Keenan was at today’s tournament cheering on the team, along with his dad, former MCC teacher and wrestling coach Mike Keenan, who lives in Eden Township.

“I got involved with the team last year after I found out that Jim Allen was coaching,” Maynard said. “Jim 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’s leadership.”

Allen said he got a call from Maynard last year asking what he could do to help the team.

“I said that we wanted to send the kids down to Olivet College to the wrestling camp there, but a lot of them didn’t 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.”

Maynard said he knew the Olivet program would benefit the wrestlers.

“I 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.” Maynard said that he was happy to make the investment.

Maynard congratulates an MCC wrestler on his victory.

Maynard congratulates an MCC wrestler on his victory.

“Once you’re a wrestler, it’s just something that sticks with you,” Allen said. “Maynard — 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.”

“Last year Maynard showed up and made a lot of observations,” Allen said. “This year he got on the mats and practiced with the kids. I’m not really sure if a lot of them realize how big of a deal this is. Like I said, he’s very humble.”

“I 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.”

Athletic Director Tim Genson, who also went to school with Maynard, said it’s a great inspiration for the students.

“He’s an alumnus of MCC. He came from this town, that’s pretty cool,” Genson said. “We really appreciate him being here showing the kids that he cares about their success.”

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. “It’s great to see MCC alumni be successful but it’s even greater to see them come home and take stock in our kids.”

Maynard said he’s impressed with the team.

“They have a lot of talent here and these kids have a lot of potential. It’s a good team.”

Mike Keenan was wrestling coach in the late ‘70s up until 1982. He’s been hanging out with the team as well. He said he’s been enjoying watching his former team now coach a new generation.

Professionally, Keenan said he’s been working on some music projects but spends most of his time at his wine operation, Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars near Jerome, Az.

 

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