The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

September 17, 2013

'Bama fan who sued NCAA recounts struggle


The Alabama Supreme Court dismissed Keller's appeal and a judge denied Keller's request for a new trial, bringing an end to the saga.

Ray Keller grew up in the country, in Big Coon he says, where the whippoorwills came out at night. He was one of three children to Allie and Raymond Keller, who grew up during the Depression and taught their children working hard is what mattered most.

"I grew up picking and hoeing cotton," said Keller. "I wasn't very good at it and hated it."

Where the family lived, after dark a vehicle spotted meant one of three things: somebody was lost, sick or trying to steal something.

Keller grew up loving sports, hooked after watching a Stevenson-Bridgeport game, on Thanksgiving Day, as a youngster.

He wound up, just as he imagined, playing for Stevenson, serving as a team captain. Keller graduated in 1966, attended Northeast Alabama Community College and later Jacksonville State University before coming home to work.

By 1974, he was in the sawmill business, a career continues.

Keller's first Alabama game in person was the 1979 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, the night of the iconic "Goal line stand," and Alabama 14-7 win for the national championship.

By 1982, Keller was an original member of Tide Pride. He and his family attended all games, home and away.

"My family was young," he says. "We would leave late on Friday night (after the high school game). I've been everywhere."

Today, Keller says it all seems like a bad dream. He remains disassociated from Alabama, no longer able to contribute or have season tickets. His legal fight is over.

"They took my two seats and my wife's two seats," says Keller. "She was never accused of anything."

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