By Kevin Eickman
Like many youngsters growing up in Milford, Keith Betts dreamed of being a Buccaneer. Betts possessed a deeper love than most however as he watched his brother, 10 years his senior, play football at Milford. Itching to get into the action, Keith managed to work his way onto that squad as he would run onto the field with the rest of the 1964 team as the teams unofficial mascot. “I just loved it so much, even at an early age like that I had to be a part of it,” Betts said. “I joke that the real reason I am getting enshrined is because of my time as mascot.” While the line is funny, it could not be further from the truth.
A 1975 graduate of Milford, Betts was a three year starter for the Buccaneers and the quarterback of the famous 1974 team. Being part of that squad holds a special part in Betts heart. “We were such a tenacious group, we left everything on the field,” commented Betts. “We were actually a bit undersized but always believed we would win. The thought that we could lose to anybody never entered our mind during that season.”
Betts was a captain in the football team and is remembered for his leadership. He received 2nd team All Conference and honorable mention All State while a Buccaneer. In addition to football, Betts was also a three year lettermen in both basketball and baseball.
Following graduation from Milford, Betts played football for two years at Wesley and eventually earned his Bachelors Degree in Business from Saint Andrews. Betts has excelled in the business world and is presently the President and CEO of Coastal Bank and Trust in Jacksonville, NC. “While getting my degree got me a job, it was the hard work and leadership I learned at Milford that got me to the position I am in today,” Betts stated.
Talking about being named to the Hall of Fame, Betts is very proud of the honor. He however states, jokingly, that it may have something to do with the passage of time. “It’s kind of funny, as the years pass I keep on getting better.” Betts stated. Speaking of his memories of Milford, Betts considers himself lucky for having been raised here.“While I may be in North Carolina now, my home will always be Milford.” Betts added, “It was a great place to grow up and I still love coming up to visit.”
Betts brother and father provided both inspiration and motivation growing up. “I learned about hard work and dedication from my brother and father,” said Betts. “They instilled a work ethic in me that has served me well throughout my entire life.” Betts is married to his wife Jan and has two children, Rachel and Jordan.