Mike Keeney Coach of the Month - December 2015

Coach Mike is not a stranger to Wildfire and no stranger to working with children. He has been coaching/teaching kids on and off a large portion of his life. Years ago, he began his coaching career at The Little Gym and when he saw many of his friends there leaving for this place called “Wildfire” that had recently opened in Tustin, he decided he needed to check it out – he was hooked on the sport of gymnastics anyways and this new gym was just the thing to make him expand his horizons. “I love kids,” Coach Mike tells anyone new in the gym. “The look on a child’s face when they learn a new skill is what truly makes my day. I feel like I can use gymnastics to equip them early in life with skills that help them build self- confidence and understand that they can accomplish anything they put their heart and soul into. Besides, coming to work in shorts and a t-shirt can’t be beat. “

If your child has Coach Mike they are lucky. He is also an actor by trade and he uses those skills to add to the fun of the gymnastics experience. When he isn’t performing on stage he is definitely nearby with scenery, make-up, lighting, set building – acting is in his blood. Special effects make-up is one of his favorites along with stunting. Mike grew up in Tustin and loves that he still leaves near home. He attended Foothill High School and after having a part in the musical Arsenic and Old Lace he knew where his career was headed. He has done TV stunt work and performed at Universal Studios and Knotts Berry Farm in their stunt shows. Mike is also a professional singer which expands his acting resume.

However, in recent months, Mike was faced with vocal cord and eye surgeries. But his love of the kids kept him from missing more than a few days of work. We thank Coach Mike for his dedication to the gym and the kids. He teaches preschool classes in the morning at the Lake Forest gym and in the afternoon he coaches boys and girls academy classes and periodically works one on one with special needs children. He is blessed with extreme patience and a mellow personality. He can make kids laugh and still enjoy working hard. Another interesting fact is that Coach Mike is a neat freak so that means he is always moving mats and tidying up the gym. We ALL benefit from having Coach Mike around – kids and other staff alike. He mentors and helps train the newer coaches. He is also a great cook, and his favorite food to eat is Tacos and he has many specialty pasta dishes. Coach Mike enjoys hiking, camping and rock climbing – basically just loves our CA weather and being able to be outside.

Thanks Coach Mike, you put a smile on our face each and every day just by being you. The other day Coach Mike told his boys, “Quit playing around. This isn’t arts and crafts time. You need to go to Michael's for that.” A student looked up at him and said, “We are in Michael's – isn’t that your name?” It is hard to get one up on Coach Mike but we all got a big laugh out of that.

Congratulations and a big hearted thank you to Coach Mike!