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James Keen Sr., Instrumental in Growth of Cliff Keen Athletic, Passes Away at 79

Corporate, NSGA News • November 25, 2020

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN (November 25, 2020) – James C. Keen Sr., who played a significant role in the growth of wrestling equipment and uniform manufacturer Cliff Keen Athletic, passed away November 24 at age 79. Keen’s father Cliff was inducted into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame in 2012.

James Keen was in high school when his father invented wrestling’s first protective headgear. Jim’s 65-year involvement in wrestling included competing for his father at the University of Michigan, inventing wrestling equipment and becoming CEO of Cliff Keen Athletic.

James Keen was involved with USA Wrestling and the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) and served the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as chairman from 2004-2013. Keen received the Hall of Fame’s Order of Merit for his contributions and service to wrestling in 2004 and supported many individual athletes and programs through the country. 

Keen was active with the University of Michigan and in the community of his native Ann Arbor. A visitation was held December 2 and a private funeral service was held December 3. Donations can be made in Keen’s honor to the Alzheimer’s Association and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Click here to read the obituary for James Keen Sr.