Theotis Key, Volunteer State Community College women’s basketball head coach, was a former Harlem Globe Trotter from 1998 to 2007.
Key grew up in Russellville, Kentucky but began his college basketball career at Austen Peay State University where he played for three years before transferring to Lincoln University for his final year, he said.
As a child he wanted to be a professional baseball player and play for the Atlanta Braves, he said.
According to Key, after playing basketball in college, he went on to play basketball with The Harlem Globe Trotters where he also was a media relations specialist for the team.
According to his LinkedIn, Key was featured on numerous national and international radio / TV programs. He also conducted summer camps as a camp director overseeing approximately 800 youths each summer. He also co-wrote the “C.H.E.E.R.” program which was included in Former President, George Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” bill.
Key felt accomplished after finishing the basketball camp with The Globe Trotters, according to an article in the Lincoln Journal Star,
“I was definitely pleased with where I was at and what I was doing. To me, it was just the icing on the cake,” Key said.
While he was playing basketball, he always admired Scottie Pippen, he said.
“My favorite athlete when I was playing was Scottie Pippen. I was the same size as he was and tried to model my game after his,” he said.
While playing with The Globe Trotters, Key recalled a memorable experience.
“We were travelling to Beirut Lebanon and the lights went out during introductions. The ambassador was there so it was the most heavily secure game I ever played in and when the lights went out all the laser pointers on the end of the machine guns lit up the court as they ushered us back to the locker room,” he said.
According to the article in the Lincoln Journal Star, Key visited 12 countries in the first month he played with The Globe Trotters.
“That, to me, was the best. I love to travel, I love playing basketball, and I just couldn’t find anything to beat that,” said Key.
According to Key, if he could have done anything in his career differently, it would have been to retire earlier.
“I think I would have retired earlier and stopped to truly enjoy all the wonderful places I visited. Some places I took for granted and wish I had spent more time sight-seeing,” he said.
According the article, Key stated that once done playing with The Globe Trotters, he would go on to coach collegiate ball.
Key began coaching at Vol State in 2014, and is still currently coaching The Lady Pioneer basketball team.
Key shared the biggest difference between coaching and playing.
“While playing, I could depend on my athleticism and skill set to win a game. With coaching, I am trying to convey what will help us achieve our goal and allow the players to use their skill sets to achieve it,” Key said.
“I have enjoyed my coaching time here at Vol State because we only have 2 years to help our student athletes map out their next path in their life. Although that seems like a lot of time, it truly isn’t,” Key said.
Key notes that, to students trying to pursue their dreams, you must focus on the details.
According to Olivia Delk, Vol State sophomore and Lady Pioneer basketball player, Theotis Key made a difference in her time at Vol State.
“Coach Key’s love and determination for the game of basketball greatly impacted my experience at Vol State. He cares for us on a personal level and will do whatever it takes to help us succeed on and off the court. He is supportive of our strengths and encourages us to improve our weaknesses. I’m glad I decided to attend Vol State and had the opportunity to play for him,” said Delk.