East Kentucky Franchise to Call Pikeville Home
PIKEVILLE, Ky. - Eastern Kentucky now has a professional sports franchise to call its own. Get ready diehard Kentucky hoops fans - basketball of the professional variety is coming to Pikeville and the East Kentucky Expo Center. An official announcement will be made on Thursday, July 19 at 7:30 pm, during a press conference that will be open to the public at the Expo Center, the team's new home. Season Tickets for all home games will go on sale immediately following the press conference and attendees will have the first opportunity to select the best seats available.
The East Kentucky Miners, an expansion team in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA), will soon set up shop in Pikeville at the East Kentucky Expo Center, a state-of-the-art facility that ranks as one of Kentucky's premier multifunctional venues. When the East Kentucky Miners, a property of Trinity Sports & Entertainment Group, Inc., take the Expo Center hardwood in late-fall, one of Eastern Kentucky's own will be guiding the expansion team. Floyd County native Kevin Keathley, 29, has been named head coach of the Miners.
Keathley is one of the nation's premier professional basketball coaches, bringing with him a resume that includes an extreme amount of success as a coach and recruiter.
Most recently, Keathley was an assistant coach of the Rio Grande (Texas) Silverados of the American Basketball Association (ABA). In 2006, Pro Basketball News (www.probasketballnews.com) touted Keathley as one of the Top 10 young coaches in America. Coach Keathley spent a great portion of his youth living near Pike County and is familiar with all of Eastern Kentucky.
"After being gone away 10 years, coaching collegiately and professionally, I was ecstatic when the opportunity came to return to Eastern Kentucky and coach," said Keathley.
"I want to be here. I want to see Pikeville, Pike County, other surrounding counties and all of Eastern Kentucky jump onboard and call this professional basketball team their own. Combine the great ownership with Kentucky fans and their love for basketball and this is an excellent situation."
Ten-year NFL veteran Jay Fiedler and South Florida entrepreneur Demetrius Ford co-founded Trinity Sports & Entertainment Group. Both individuals welcomed the opportunity to bring professional basketball to Eastern Kentucky.
"We have literally found a diamond in the rough here in Pikeville," said Ford, Trinity's CEO. "The people of the city continue to amaze me with a level of support and excitement I've not seen anywhere else. They truly want this team here, and we're going to ensure we give them not only a great product on the court that they'll be proud to call their own, but also a constant flood of entertainment in the form of major concerts and other events that they've had to drive hours outside their city limits to experience in the past."
Converge Entertainment, a Trinity subsidiary run by former MTV executive Nolan Baynes, is the exclusive entertainment partner of the CBA and is currently developing a series of concert tours featuring A-list artists. Each tour will include a stop at the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center during the CBA season. According to Fiedler, "Pikeville is a small town with big city dreams and aspirations. You can tell from all the infrastructure development that significant growth is on the horizon. The people here are some of the hardest working I've had the pleasure to meet, and they deserve big city access to big city entertainment, so that's exactly what we will give them."
"This is exciting news for the Expo Center and all of Eastern Kentucky," said Expo Center General Manager Steve St. John. "I feel this is a step in the right direction for the Expo and the Community. The addition of the Miners to the event lineup for the upcoming years will help offer a well rounded base of family entertainment." According to Keathley, the East Kentucky Miners roster will soon start to take shape.
"We are looking to put the best basketball product on the floor," said Keathley. "We're going to look extensively for the top players. Our goal is to make the East Kentucky Miners the premier franchise in the CBA. Tryout camps will be set and we'll also benefit from the CBA Draft."
The East Kentucky Miners website (www.ekminers.com) is currently under construction. Information on tryouts and employment opportunities will be made available at a later date.
• Discuss this story on the Continental Basketball Association 1 message board...
Continental Basketball Association 1 Stories from July 2, 2007
- East Kentucky Franchise to Call Pikeville Home - East Kentucky Miners
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.