ORONO — Rudy Keeling, who coached the University of Maine men’s basketball team for nine seasons between 1988 and 1996, passed away Saturday in Londonderry, N.H., after battling an illness, according to a press release from the UMaine athletic department.

He was 64.

“The Black Bear men’s basketball program and the entire UMaine community is deeply saddened to hear the news of the passing of coach Keeling,” current Coach Ted Woodward said in a statement. “He was an outstanding coach, a first-class person and representative of the University of Maine, and a beloved and highly respected member of the entire basketball coaching community.

“It has always been an honor to follow in his footsteps at the University of Maine and the wonderful example he provided daily and throughout his career.”

Keeling’s team went 104-124 during his tenure, but he led the Black Bears to a then-record 20 wins in 1993-94 and won North Atlantic Conference coach of the year honors.

Prior to coming to UMaine, Keeling served as an assistant coach at Marquette University and at Bradley University. He left Maine to take a job at Northeastern University in Boston.

He leaves behind a wife and four children.

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