Mike Keen is returning to Bryan College for his fourth season as the Head Fishing Coach. When the Lion's Fishing program came into existence in 2014-15, the highly coveted Cabela's School of the Year title became a goal for the young anglers. The Lions set a surprising bar for themselves in the inaugural season with an 18th place finish but was able to better it in 2015-16 by cracking the top-10 and battling for 6th place. In just their 3rd year, the Bryan Fishing Team earned their place in the record books by being crowned 2017 Cabela's School of the Year by outlasting every collegiate fishing team in the country, showing consistency on the water and securing a top-10 finish in every tournament throughout the year except two, with one being 13th and the other being the Cabela's National Championship.
In their first season, The Bryan College Anglers fished 8 major tournaments, which assisted Keen in one of his primary goals for the program, “…to use this program to gain visibility for our college.”
The key to success in 2015-16 was the true consistency they showed all season. "We were consistently in the top 10-20 percent in each tournament we fished," said Keen. "It's impossible to lift up just a single angler, because in every tournament somebody different stepped up and put us where we needed to be."
The Lion Anglers did a lot more traveling in 2015-16, spanning from Crescent Lake, Fla. all the way to Lake Dardanelle in Ark., which helped the team tremendously as it allowed Bryan to fish in more tournaments in the three major trails: Cabela's, BASS, and FLW. Two of Bryan's toughest opponents included the University of Alabama (2015-16 winner) and the University of North Alabama (2013-14 & 2014-15 winner), but some could say they have a leg up as three major tournaments were fished in their backyard.
The experience the Bryan Fishing Team in 2015-16 helped prepare them for an even better finish for the 2016-17 season. Keen explained, "With only two years under our belt, our guys have grown in confidence. We are no longer the new kids on the block, but we belong. In our first year, we were solely proud to be there, but now we are proud and expecting to do well. It will carry over into the next year, and it certainly helps to be bringing in talented anglers."
Keen mentioned that he is extremely proud of all the guys, because they are the ones who made the top-10 goal even possible since they are doing all the fishing. "We are very pleased to be this high up in the rankings, especially considering there are no divisions in fishing, so we are fishing against every college in the nation that has a fishing team," stated Keen. "The future is bright for our team, and we are determined to continue fishing at the highest level with the help of several quality recruits."
Before Keen joined the Bryan staff, he operated a local insurance agency for 34 years. After retirement in 2012, the opportunity presented itself to organize a collegiate fishing team at Bryan College. “Getting the chance to coach in a sport I love and make a difference in the lives of the young people is a real blessing,” stated Keen.
Mike resides in Dayton, Tenn. with his wife Rissa and daughter Micayla. Mike also has two other children, Marissa, and son Gabe who is a Bryan College Grad.
|DJ Barber||JR||5-11||Birmingham, Ala.|
|Matt Brown||SO||6-5||Corbin, Ky.|
|Connor Cohran||SO||6-4||Dalton, Ga.|
|Chandler Fogg||JR||6-4||Fayettville, Tenn.|
|Connor Fogg||SR||6-5||Fayetteville, Tenn.|
|Jacob Foutz||SO||5-9||Charleston, Tenn.|
|Chase Kanute||JR||5-11||Hayden, Ala.|
|Dylan Kear||SR||6-4||Clinton, Tenn.|
|Jake Lee||SO||6-3||Knoxville, Tenn.|
|Braden Marshall||SO||5-11||Hixson, Tenn.|
|Johnathan Peck||SR||5-10||Louisville, Ky.|
|Dylan Pritchett||SR||5-7||Evensville, Tenn.|
|Cole Sands||JR||6-4||Calhoun, Tenn.|
|Connor Thompson||JR||6-1||Fort Payne, Ala.|
|Hunter Thrasher||SO||6-1||Kelso, Tenn.|
|Steven Tipton||JR||5-10||Cleveland, Tenn.|