(Photo Courtesy of Faulkner Athletics) Former Hartselle basketball standout Kayla Key just completed a successful sophomore season at Faulkner. She helped guide the Eagles to their best season in over five years.

Keys to success: Faron and Kayla Key use basketball to maintain strong bond

After talking with Hartselle boys basketball coach Faron Key throughout this past season, it became clear that the game was more than just a job in the Key household. It is a way of life. After speaking with his daughter Kayla, it is also clear that the passion and love for the game was definitely passed down from father to daughter.

Kayla Key – a former Hartselle guard who helped lead Faulkner to the NAIA National Championship Tournament this past week –  just completed her sophomore season. It was a successful campaign that resulted in a tournament appearance for the first time in five seasons and a trip to Billings, Mont. for an opening round game against the third-ranked team in the country.

“This year was really just an awesome experience,” Kayla said. “This is just the seventh year that we have had a women’s basketball program at Faulkner so to advance to the National Championship Tournament and play at that level was great.”

While Kayla expresses that she is her toughest critic, she also acknowledges that her dad has played multiple roles in her basketball career. Depending on what type of game she had and how much work she needs to put in, her dad is always there to wear whatever hat that is needed.

“I would say when I was younger, he was definitely harder on me,” Kayla said. “Now that I am in college, it has turned into more conversations and critiquing the finer points of my game. It’s nice to have someone who has played college basketball and who has coached the game at a high level be there whenever I need them to be.”

As the oldest of four children, both Kayla and Faron recognize that her path impacts and can shape the future of her siblings. That is something she does not take for granted as she constantly works on how to handle adversity and bounce back from lackluster performances.

“I feel a responsibility to give my siblings something to look up to,” Kayla said. “I want to show them that they can do whatever they want to and if they want to play basketball in college, then they can.”

Faron Key also echoed those sentiments.

“We knew with Kayla and with her being the oldest, that for her to set a good example was important,” Faron stated. “I think just how she handles certain situations and how she responds to both the good and the bad are important. As she has grown and turned into the player she is, it became less about basketball and more about what college, and the sacrifices you have to make to play basketball in college, are all about.”

Hartselle boys basketball coach Faron Key now balances life as a coach and life as the parent of a college athlete. Key still works out and talks basketball with his daughter Kayla regularly despite being in different parts of the state.

Coaching a top-tier program such as Hartselle and trying to follow his daughter’s playing career has been tough on Coach Key at times. The work that goes into trying to compete at a high level in 6A basketball can be grueling and it is easy to get wrapped up in the hectic nature of coaching. However, Kayla is an outlet for him to get back to the grassroots of why he loves the game and allows him to give feedback to his most important pupil, his daughter.

“I think the coolest thing for me is when I go home, maybe after a tough day, I can turn on her game and just be her biggest fan,” Faron said. “I always leave a text, that is waiting for her in the locker room, after the game and I facetime her and talk to her about her performance. It kind of reminds me and inspires me to move past that bad day.”

(Photo Courtesy of Tom Chappell) During her time at Hartselle, Kayla Key helped in the resurgence of the Lady Tigers program. Key helped lead her squad to a 6A Final Four appearance during her senior season.

Both Kayla and Faron now embark on an offseason with each facing high expectations at their respective programs for next year. Both will continue to rely on each other as they look to set new program standards in 2018-2019.

“I’m a stubborn child, as he would tell you, so a lot of times I didn’t listen to him like I should have,” Kayla said. “As I have gotten older, I appreciate him and everything he has done to help me so much more. He is honest with me and gives me honest feedback. I know he is there for me after every game and that is an awesome feeling.”

Editor's picks

Hartselle graduate creates product for amputees 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Tigers roar in Athens soccer win

Danville

Local family raises Autism awareness through dirt racing  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Three Hartselle students named National Merit finalists  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Morgan chief deputy graduates from FBI National Academy

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle students collect food for good cause 

Falkville

Falkville to hold town-wide yard sale next month

At a Glance

Danville man dies after vehicle leaves Hudson Memorial Bridge 

Editor's picks

Clif Knight, former Hartselle mayor, Enquirer writer, dies at 88

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle Utilities reminds community April is safe digging month 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Teen powerhouse invited to compete in international strongman event

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Azaleas: An Alabama beauty 

Decatur

Master Gardeners plant sale returns in April

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Morgan leaders honored at annual banquet

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Local students selected for 2024 Blackburn Institute Class

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle sophomore represents Civil Air Patrol in D.C.  

Editor's picks

Hartselle council hires architect for new fire station, library and event center

At a Glance

PowerGrid Services in Hartselle evacuated for bomb threat

Morgan County

20 under 40: Trey Chowning

Falkville

20 under 40: TJ Holmes

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

20 under 40: Spencer Bell

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

20 under 40: Shelby Keenum

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

20 under 40: Rachel Howard

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

20 under 40: Mary Virgina Halbrooks

x