Billy Key and the late Charlie Finley, two iconic coaches in the history of Missouri S&T athletics, were among the members of the inaugural class of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association’s Hall of Fame. The class was inducted in June.
Key and Finley were among 15 individuals and five teams — all of which won national championships in the first 50 years of that league’s history — to make up the MIAA’s inaugural class.
Key served as the Miners’ men’s basketball coach from 1964 to 1987. During his tenure he compiled 279 wins, the most of any basketball coach at the institution. During his coaching career with the Miners, he led them to the MIAA championship in the 1975-76 season. It was the program’s first conference title. Key also guided two teams to the NCAA Division II Tournament and coached two All-America players (Curtis Gibson, Econ’86, and Duane Huddleston, NDD’89), three Academic All-America players (Ross Klie,ChE’77, Todd Wentz, LSci’85, and Dave Moellenhoff, EE’86), and one player (Ken Stalling, Psyc’74) who was drafted by the NBA. Key also served as the university’s director of athletics for 22 years.
Finley led the Miner football team as head coach from 1972 to 1991 and had a 34-year tenure with the program. During his 20 seasons as head coach, Finley led the Miners to a record of 100-100-10 and three MIAA championships. The 100 wins were the most of any coach in conference history at the time he reached that mark.
Among the three championship teams Finley coached was the 1980 squad that recorded a 10-0 record — the second undefeated season in school history — and a No. 10 national ranking at the end of the year as the Miners earned their first outright MIAA title in 30 seasons. It was the last team from the MIAA to finish a season undefeated until 1998, when Northwest Missouri State completed a perfect run to the national championship.
The Miners’ performance in 1980 earned Finley the District VI “Coach of the Year” award, one of his three such awards from the MIAA.
Missouri S&T was a member of the MIAA from 1935 through the 2004-05 academic year, when the campus joined the Great Lakes Valley Conference.