Academy of Art selects Mike Keller new men’s soccer head coach

Mike Keller Courtesy Art U Sports Information

SAN FRANCISCO - The Academy of Art University and Director of Athletics Kevin Price have officially announced Mike Keller as head coach for ART U Men's Soccer.

A familiar face to the Urban Knights' family, Keller previously served as ART U assistant men's soccer coach in 2009 before becoming the head coach at Menlo College where he helped the Oaks to unprecedented success over the past three seasons.

“I am excited to announce that Mike Keller has accepted the head coaching position with the ART U men's soccer program," Price said. "Mike has a clear history of success as a head coach and assistant coach while bringing an outstanding recruiting track record as well. In other words, he is a winner. Mike's familiarity with the Bay Area recruiting scene and his international connections will be tremendous assets to the program. We are looking forward to establishing a winning culture in our men's soccer program with Coach Keller at the helm.”

In Keller's 2012 year at Menlo's helm, the Oaks went 13-4-3 overall, were an undefeated 8-0 in California Pacific Conference play, and also made the Cal Pac Postseason Conference Tournament championship game.

“I'm really excited about the opportunity to come back to the Academy of Art University,” Keller said. “I strongly believe there is a real opportunity to win here and start a tradition of attractive soccer. Plus the opportunity of doing it so close to home makes it that much better for me personally.”

Menlo's 2011 campaign would be considered Keller's crown jewel. The Oaks finished 2011 with a sparkling 13-3-1 regular season record and were champions of the Cal Pac Conference with an undefeated 10-0 mark.

The conference crown pushed Menlo to its first ever trip to post-season play. The incredible run culminated in a host of postseason accolades, including a Cal Pac Conference Coach of the Year distinction for Keller.

“Over the next few years, we would like to set a tradition of winning soccer with a good style of play with a team that competes for the conference title every year,” Keller said. “By establishing this kind of reputation, we will be able to compete with the other top programs in the nation.”

In three years with the Oaks, Keller rolled off an impressive 34-14-7 regular season record with a remarkable 25-3-2 clip in conference action. Overall, a total of 11 of Keller's players have been recognized on the All-Conference Team, including goalkeeper Alex Palomarez who was honored with the Conference Player of the Year Award in 2011 and Eric Angell who took home the Cal Pac's Newcomer of the Year honor.

Before his time at Menlo, Keller helped guide Academy of Art University through its first season competing in the Pacific West Conference in just its second season of athletic competition. Prior to his one-year stint with the Urban Knights, Keller spent six years as an assistant at Cañada College in Redwood City. With Keller on the sidelines, Cañada made three appearances in the California Community College Playoffs.

“I feel the chance to coach at a place that I'm familiar with only gives me the opportunity to bolster the program that much more,” Coach Keller said. “Being from the Bay Area makes me feel like we can hit the ground running.”

While Keller honed his skills at the collegiate level for the past 10 years, he also served as the head coach at San Mateo High School for two seasons. In 2008, Keller led San Mateo to a Peninsula Athletic League Division Championship.

A San Carlos native, Keller played soccer at Cañada College for two years, guiding the Colts to the CCCAA State Championship Game as a freshman. Cañada finished the season ranked fifth in the nation as Keller earned All-West Region honors. He also was named Team MVP as a sophomore.

Keller is a 2003 UC Davis graduate and earned a master's degree in kinesiology from San Jose State two years later. He currently resides in Campbell.