Longtime Century HS basketball coach celebrates 400 wins while battling stage 4 cancer

Celebrating a milestone decades in the making all while battling cancer.
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 6:50 AM PST
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HILLSBORO, Ore. (KPTV) - Celebrating a milestone decades in the making all while battling cancer, FOX 12 met up with Century High School’s longtime boys basketball head coach Scott Kellar who has always called Hillsboro home.

Legend and longevity tend to go together, Century High School has known just one boys basketball head coach since the school opened in 1997. Kellar collected his 400th career win with the Jaguars last week, and this 26th season continues to be the toughest on coach and it’s far beyond the win and loss column.

“I told the kids, whether I am 55 or 25, I want them to know I am going to bring it. Everyday,” Kellar said.

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Every day is a blessing for Kellar, with no excuses and no regrets.

“Still grinding, that’s what we do,” he said. “We haven’t won a state championship here. We’d love to play a lot more playoff games, but we’ve done things the right way.”

The Glencoe High School class of 1985 alum went on to star as an NAIA All-American at Western Oregon before his coaching path from Taft to Sandy brought him back home to the new school in Hillsboro.

“I just had such a great time growing up here that I thought it was a good place to come back and establish my roots and stay,” Kellar said.

A school counselor by day and coach by night, Kellar just collected that milestone 400th career victory with the Jaguars.

“It’s proved to have some resilience to stay around it and the biggest thing is 400 wins means I have got to be around a lot of great people and with everything that is going on now, I have seen the response from everybody that has been amazing,” he said.

Kellar has been surrounded with love and uplift as the man of respect and honor is fighting cancer.

“In May, I got diagnosed with kidney cancer, had my kidney removed and then I had a follow up in late November/early December and found out the kidney cancer had spread to my lungs,” Kellar said. “The cancer is in stage 4, but the lung spread is pretty light, at this point.”

Side effects of trial immunotherapy has made it difficult for Kellar to do what he loves the most, spending nine nights in the hospital the past 20 days.

“I’ve never missed a game in 32 years until three weeks ago, I’ve missed one practice in the history of Century until two weeks ago,” he said. “I am old school, that is how I am built, that’s how I was raised.”

Coach K has built-in support in spades.

“He’s a role model. He is more than just a coach to me,” said senior Kaleb McKinley. “I look up to him in all of my aspects of life. He helps me to be not only a better player but a better man as a whole.”

“To see so many kids, ex-players, coaches, friends reach out it’s been...it’s been pretty overwhelming,” Kellar said.

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“That just shows how much, how strong he is, how much character he’s got. Even though he is going through probably the worst thing of his life he still comes here and supports us,” said junior Jordan Johnson.

Kellar’s son Joseph, a Century class of 2017 grad, serves as assistant, and it’s Kellar’s staff who have taken on his old roles with former Sunset High School head coach Todd Sherwood leading the charge for the claws.

“I am a little bit of a control freak. When you have been a head coach for 30 years, you are used to calling all the shots and everything, so I have had to learn to let go and trust,” Kellar said.

Tough times don’t last but strong people do.

“In the long run, it’s all going to be good,” said Kellar.

Mounting medical bills are a burden that no one battling cancer needs to deal with. A GoFundMe account has been set up for Coach Kellar and can be found here.