Former Greene Central standout Walt McKeel died Tuesday
Greene Central lost a legend Tuesday.
Walter Thomas “Walt” McKeel, 46, died at his home. McKeel was a two-time state champion with the Rams, who won titles in 1987 and 1990 before being drafted by the Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox in the third round shortly after graduation. McKeel would play his first game in the MLB in 1996, and played for the Red Sox and Colorado Rockies during his pro career.
Funeral services will be held graveside at the Stantonsburg Cemetery at 1 p.m. Saturday. Reverend Bobby Heath will officiate and the family will receive friends immediately after the service at the cemetery.
Longtime Greene Central coach James “Rabbit” Fulghum coached McKeel and said he was one of the greatest athletes in Rams history.
“Walt was an outstanding high school baseball player,” Fulghum said. “He had a big league arm behind the plate and had power. One of his biggest accomplishments (was as a pitcher) when he defeated Brien Taylor, who was the No. 1 pick (in the 1991 MLB Draft and an East Carteret stalwart) two out of three times, including the game that got us to the state finals (in 1990). He was an exceptionally talented player — one of the best two or three to ever come out of Greene Central.”
Russell Brann, who served as Fulghum’s assistant coach during McKeel’s time with Greene Central, said McKeel was a wonderful player and teammate.
“Walt was an extremely talented young man,” Brann said. “The Lord blessed him with incredible talent and he lived a dream most men at Greene Central would love to fulfill. He was a hard worker, well-liked by his teammates, very coachable and a person you enjoyed being around. People at Greene Central have been proud of him over the years for his accomplishments and he will be sorely missed.”
Rams athletic director David Bryant said McKeel left a legacy for the county’s athletes.
“Walt was a big presence at Greene Central,” Bryant said. “He was one of the first who made it professionally here and inspired a lot of others to make it big-time like he did.”
Online condolences can be sent to taylor-tyson.com.