On Wednesday 13th May 2020, Keith Lyons, loving husband, brother, father, and grandfather died at the age of 68.

Keith with his Grandfather c.1960

Keith was born on 7th May 1952 in Buckley, North Wales and was given a good start on his learning journey by his Grandfather, who among other things taught him to write in the compact, neat and unique script that helped Keith to graduate from Mold Grammar School, University of York, Loughborough College and the London School of Economics.

While at York, his desire for equality and justice came to the fore when he joined the anti-apartheid movement. In the following years he continued to speak out about the impact of apartheid on sport with his vocal opposition leading to him being banned from traveling to South Africa.

Keith graduating from the University of York 1973

Keith had the opportunity, while he studied for his PhD at the University of Surrey, to refine his interest in learning through an ethnographic study. This paved the way for his unique approach to observing sport and laid the foundation for his future career in performance analysis. Sport was a central part of Keith’s life, as a rugby player,  a coach, a performance analyst and a coach mentor. The roles he performed were diverse, from lacrosse to canoeing, made possible by his ability to observe patterns and his desire to support people.

The suicide of his brother John in 1982 had a profound effect on his life after which Keith became more introspective. His wife Sue believed that it was this moment that solidified Keith’s desire to help others, especially those going through difficult times. Following Keith’s death, a number of the coaches he mentored recounted that Keith was often the only person to contact them after defeats or when they faced difficulties. When most people stayed quiet in times of trouble, Keith was there. Keith believed the time to step forward was when things were hard.

A triumphant moment for Keith came when he finally got to travel to a unified South Africa in 1995 as part of the Welsh Rugby World Cup Team. He later recalled that one part of that trip, an outreach project to teach young black South Africans to play rugby, was one of his happiest moments.

Keith (far right) while playing for London Welsh

Keith moved to Australia in 2002 with his family, who were the core of his identity. He loved being at home with his wife, children and later his grandchildren. Keith unconditionally supported his family in their endeavours and would travel the globe or stay awake for days to help them if they were in need. For his son Sam he spent thousands of hours on the riverbank watching and coaching regardless of the conditions, never complaining and always shouting encouragement.

Keith in his fire-fighting uniform 2012

The belief in the need to help others in their time of need led Keith to volunteer for the Rural Fire Service (RFS). For years, Keith was there when the community needed him, fighting fires and helping at road traffic accidents. The camaraderie of the RFS gave Keith the supportive community that he had always hoped to create for others but for once got to experience for himself. Keith recounted one particularly difficult fire where he had to protect a house and its occupants – a mother and four children – from a fast-moving bush fire. After hours of effort, Keith and his fellow crew mates saved the house, something that brought the normally reserved Keith to tears when reflecting on the positive impact he had on that family’s life.

Keith’s unique skill was to make everyone with whom he communicated know they were valued and their experience mattered—including those that provided him with care while his battled lymphoma of his brain. It was a real comfort to Keith’s family that they could spend that final year with him, focussing on his health and the family. His daughter Beth reflected that this was his last journey in learning, as he embraced the new skills he needed and the new people he could share his time with.

Keith with his wife Sue and Grandchildren 2014

Following several rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy Keith died in The Canberra Hospital at 1:30 am on 13th May 2020 surrounded by his family.

Just 10 days before his death Keith wrote for the last time in a birthday card to his wife Sue. His handwriting was still compact, neat and unique, a fitting tribute to the power of a supportive teacher willing to invest in learning, an investment Keith made in so many, for whom life is better because he was there.

Keith was preceded in death by his parents Donald and Joan, and his brother John. He is survived by his wife Sue, and his two children, Beth and Sam, his grandchildren Ivy and Jolyon, and his sister Judith.

There were many achievements from Keith’s life that are not recorded here but are documented in this Wikipedia article, a fitting place for a tribute to a man who championed open education for decades.

Keith’s funeral will be on 20th May 2020 at 4pm (Canberra time). Information can be found here.


  1. Keith was a mountain in life – inspirational, friendly, helpful, encouraging, knowledgeable, sharing, inclusive, inquisitive and loved pizzas on Wednesdays with his close sports network! His life has guided so many and it’s now up to us to carry on his great legacy.

  2. Thank you for a wonderful obituary. The word ‘wonderful’ is my lasting memory of Keith. In my many conversations with Keith in person or by email was generally concluded with wonderful. He was so supportive and appreciative.
    Thoughts are with his family – taken too soon.

  3. I knew Keith from the day he was born. Single minded, determined, and always polite. He was always going to achieve something unique in his life. I’m very sad.

  4. Thank you for such a wonderful obituary; although I never met Keith face to face, his warmth shone through both in his internet postings and in our e-mail exchanges.
    I had an awful feeling earlier this week that having been absent from the internet since February that something was not right. I realise now how much I miss his insight.

  5. I came to know Keith about 7 years ago when I was sharing some ideas on social media about performance analysis curriculums and accreditations. Little did I know when Keith messaged me to introduce himself and share his desire for open learning that I had met my mentor who has shaped my practice and curriculum to this day.
    Ironically, I never met Keith face to face, but Keith was one of those few people you knew was treating you like family.
    I offer my condolences to Keith’s family and friends and In the coming days may you be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together and celebrate a life well lived and one that he unconditionally shared with so many. For me, and I sincerely believe many others working in sport performance analysis Keith has left us with great footprints, we will continue to seek them out and will aspire to extend the path he started.

  6. A great man who will be missed by many. A memory that stands out was when Keith was invited to speak at the Braidwood District Education Foundation 2016 scholarship presentation. He was inspiring, humble and instilled the need to be kind to each other and check in on each other. He spoke so eloquently and had the whole room in his hand. It made such an impact, I have never forgotten. RIP Keith, our sincerest condolences to your family.
    Helen, Graeme and Lizzie Farley.

  7. Sad news and a lovely Obituary. It’s been a long time but Keith and Sue brought there young children Beth and Sam along to the River to learn the arts of Canoe Slalom. Keith was alway fully supportive to his children and would drive all over the country for them to compete, combined with his busy working.

  8. Through his humility Keith inspired and encouraged all he met in life to engage, take up the challenge and “to be”.
    Thank you Keith for your wisdom and friendship. Rest in Peace knowing all your gifts will remain for many to cherish
    and share.

  9. I was very fortunate to be taught by Keith at Cardiff. I can remember leaving my first lecture with him feeling totally inspired – an educator who understood everyone in the class and afforded people the opportunity to learn. He never pushed information onto his students, but listened and was interested in stories. That was unique at the time and he was brilliant at telling his own stories to provide context to some pretty hard theory.
    I worked with Keith for a number of years and he offered me a position at the University and continued to help with my own development. Since moving out of education I would receive messages from him and he would send me links to work that would make me think about things differently. As a person, you would not wish to meet a nicer man. He was kind, gentle, and very humble. A brilliant mind but never spoke down to anyone. He was unique in his delivery and his interpersonal skills were exceptional. I, like many others feel very lucky to have known Keith and I’m sure that the world is a better place for having that opportunity to learn from him. He helped so many people in so many ways. A huge loss to those who knew him.

    • Wonderful recollections of Keith which I can relate to so well. That was him and the effect he had on people Ian .

      • Keith was a wonderful friend and support when I was coaching g England Ladies hockey team. Keith was always so energetic, positive, and encouraging. I treasured our friendship. I was so delighted when we bumped into Keith and Sue at Heathrow a few years ago. I have so many fond memories of Keith. My love is with Sue, Sam and Beth. I was glad I was able to join the streamed funeral. A wonderful tribute to a much loved man.
        Sue Whitaker (Slocombe)

  10. I was a bit of a fish out of water in the disciplined world of the Sports Commission until I met Keith, others in his unit, and the people in Sports Science and coaching who saw what a visionary he was. I remember our first cup of coffee and a sparkling conversation that traversed so many interesting topics, political, social, musical and sporting. I knew I’d made a friend. I encourage people to re read his blog. I can’t recall my log in. He’d expect that of me.

  11. To say Keith was unique would be a massive understatement.
    I met Keith while his was in Wales and coaching the Welsh Slalom Team. I always loved the way he would analyse the sport and he always brought a new perspective to it. When he spoke I listened as there was always going to be total gems of education coming my way and I never wanted to miss a word. He made me think in ways I had never thought of before and I am so much wiser for it.
    I am so grateful to have known him. He was a great man and will be missed by so many.
    My thought are with all his family and friends.

  12. I have known Keith through AIS but until few days ago did not know he was at college (Loughborough) same time as attended. A good academic and great bloke

  13. Thoughts are with you all at this sad time. Keith was my fathers (David)cousin. Love and prayers from us all here in Drury,Buckley North Wales.
    Kind regards,
    Jonathan Catherall

  14. I was fortunate that Keith worked as a performance analyst for the WRU, he worked along side his long time friend Kevin Bowring. Keith had a passion and knowledge of the game which no one surpassed. He would certainly ask thought provoking analytical questions to players and coaches to ensure players had clarity and understanding of a game they felt comfortable in playing. I met up with Keith on his last trip over to the Uk to share and exchange ideas about the game we both love. A charming gentleman who will be missed and thank you for all those learning moments which made me a better coach, your wisdom and friendship will not be forgotten.
    RIP Keith, our sincere condolences to Sue and the family.

  15. We became friends through rugby. I will always remember his calmness, intelligence and fun. Always had a smile for everyone and was always ready to help if people needed it. Lovely human being. Rest in peace. jeff

  16. Keith was a Titan of a man..
    A gentleman who spent so much time analysing & encouraging us all to improve during the early 90s as part of the Welsh team management..
    Rest in peace sir you were a wonderful selfless man who inspired a young welsh rugby players to achieve their goals
    Much respect Keith..

  17. All his old friends at london welsh rfc remember him and are very sad to hear the news. He was a great guy and we all miss him.

  18. I will miss the wisdom of Keith Lyons. Rarely do you meet people, whom after talking to them, you feel nourished – mind and soul. In my time working with him at the AIS, Keith was able to take sport and weave in all the important bits – care for people, dreams, aspirations, dealing with adversity and seeing goodness in the world. For me, Keith was a true Renaissance man, and I will miss him dearly. RIP Keith.

  19. Keith was one of those rare people who always made time for you, was willing to share and engage and smile. I always found I ended a conversation with Keith knowing a bit more or looking at things a little differently. I am very sad to hear of his passing. He will be missed by all he came in contact with. My thoughts are with the you all at this time Michael Thomson

  20. Keith was a friend and colleague for over 25 years. He was the most humble, enthusiastic and generous man I have ever known. I have Keith to thank for my family and I moving to Australia- as he contacted me and encouraged me to take a job opportunity there. Thank you Keith, my family and I are truly grateful. As a colleague he was an outstanding intellect and educator, always willing to supervise students from diverse and disadvantaged situations and making sure they succeeded. A unique and remarkable man.

  21. Working at the AIS since 2003 was made very special for me by the influence of Keith.
    Keith will always remain a very special person and his conversations will live on with me for ever, as will the enduring effect of his kindness. We had several connections – my wife comes from Wrexham, N Wales – both my wife and I went to Cardiff College of Education, before Keith arrived but we share some friendships with College lecturers – returning to the UK in 1997 I bumped into him again on a look around the college I believe.
    Keith’s never ending enthusiasm was always inspiring, sometimes almost overwhelming to me and other mere mortals in his company.
    Receiving one of his presentation deliveries was always a joy, leaving you completely inspired, sometimes over-whelmed and normally confused! Humour abounded and stories never ending.
    On many occasions Keith helped me to make sense of a world that is often very confusing and to a degree disappointing. I would always leave those conversations enthused, re-positioned and mostly thankful.
    I am deeply honoured to have had Keith pass through my life.He has left an indelible mark on me as a person, as a coach and a sports enthusiast.
    He will never leave us as he is permanently imprinted in or minds, our hearts and now playing the game played in heaven in permanent home fixtures.

  22. Thank you for this insightful overview of Keith’s life. He was one of the most inspiring people I have known. He was one of those rare people who always look at what is possible and encourage you to be the same way. A conversation with Keith always left me invigorated and excited. I hope his family can take comfort that the ripples that Keith set in motion have spread far and will continue to be felt by those who knew him, for the rest of our lives.

  23. To Sue, Sam and Beth,
    We are sorry for your loss and are thinking of you all at this difficult time.
    We arrived in Australia a few years before the Lyons family. Through a shared love of canoe slalom, our paths crossed on river banks for a decade or so.
    At the time Sam was competing, Keith kept himself fit for matchday. Like a touchline coach, he could be seen and heard running down the side of the course, stopwatch in hand. In time with Sam’s charge between gates, he would bellow encouragement – “come on son, up, up!”.
    Keith’s support for others extended widely, his kindness was felt by many aspiring athletes, coaches and families. Keith’s insight, positivity and optimism are the wonderful, remarkable and fascinating qualities of a man who saw the human in everyone.
    Farewell Keith.
    With love from the Fox family
    Richard, Myriam, Jessica and Noémie

  24. There are many reasons why Keith Lyons was a special person. He was intelligent (off the scale!), witty, good humoured, supportive, experienced, thoughtful, unbelievably positive and he genuinely cared for people. I have met many people in my career but few, if any, have had the same impact as Keith and I have been thinking about the reason why that was.
    I am not sure how he managed to to do it, but he was always there for me, no matter what….. just at the time I was needing someone to talk to he would send an email, just at the time I felt I needed to make a key decision he appeared… we met all over the World. Sydney, Dublin, Leeds, London…. it was truly amazing the lengths he would go to to provide support for the coaches he mentored. “Hi Coach” he would say, “I am just popping over to the UK and I wondered if you wanted to meet” it was like he was coming from the next Village instead of Canberra!
    The time we met in Sydney, I couldn’t get to Canberra as my schedule wouldn’t allow it, so he said “no problem” and he drove to me…we met at Coogee Beach and he told me so many stories about the beach and his memories there we almost forget to talk about rugby and coaching. We met in a bar called Kiely’s in Dublin, a fireside chat with a Guinness followed by the Leinster v Munster game. He came to Leeds where my home is and we sat and watched a game of University cricket in glorious sunshine one Tuesday afternoon. Just me and Keith, chatting on the bank of Weetwood campus.
    I could go on and I am sure all the other coaches have the same tales.
    I have all his emails and remember all his advice, he will never be forgotten and his impact and legacy with be there for generations to come.

  25. A man that not only impacted my life with kindness, love and inspiration bu showed me that life itself is so precious. He mentored me as I did him when I was Captain at Braidwood but he ever new the real impact on my life that he had made when I was at my lowest.
    Again Sir you will be dearly missed and the world is now at a loss for your departure from this earth was way to early. Thank you and Rest In Peace my old friend .

  26. Professor Keith Lyons, a most remarkable colleague and true polymath. Thank you Keith for your enduring thoughtfulness and compassionate action. My sincere condolences to Keith’s family.

  27. Keith and were colleagues at Cyncoed and I remember him as the calm, collected pioneer of notational analysis listening with interest before posing the question that got to the crux of the issue. Keith made a difference, many aspire or self-promote this ability, Keith did it quietly creating an enduring legacy.

  28. For me Keith was one of those people that you may not have seen for a while but as soon as you did it would seem like it was only yesterday that you had been chatting, picking up from the last conversation that may have been years ago. Over many years of his unconditional advice and support I have so many great stories from my first ever working relationship when he was Performance Analysis support to Kevin Bowring during Kevin’s head coach period at the WRU. I was a scrummage coach and player assessor and worked closely with Keith, which seems many years ago now, back then it was hand notation and his advice that there was a big movement coming which would be video digitisation, his advise to get ready and be prepared for that the same as I prepared for my scrummage coaching was absolutely spot-on as he was with every bit of advice I ever got from him, he was always in front of the wave.
    Beyond this first working relationship I have so many wonderful stories of how he was always there to help including occasions where his humour and approach to situations had me splitting my sides with laughter, especially I recall a humorous observation he made just before he introduced me to some cricket coaches to talk about my work with the video analysis systems, how I managed to carry on from the giggles I will never know. I will certainly miss you Keith but never forget you.
    Thank you Keith

  29. There are few people in this life who are destined to leave an unforgettable and striking impression on those they meet, but Keith was one such person. I was fortunate enough to work alongside Keith in a variety of areas in Cardiff Met (UWIC) for a number of years, and his kind, good humoured and generous intellect left a lasting impression on all those he encountered. My thoughts are with his family. RIP Keith.

  30. I had the great fortune to be a colleague of Keith’s when he joined the staff of what is now the Cardiff School of Sport & Health Sciences at Cardiff Metropolitan University. I was honoured to be able to take over from him as the Programme Director of the MA degree in Sport & Leisure Studies – this was the first postgraduate award validated at Cardiff Met at the time. Keith was a very gentle man who had sharp intelligence and a wry wit. Students and staff thought the world of him and I certainly learned a great deal from his particular pedagogical approach. Keith was always generous with his time and advice. A true pioneer and a thinker well ahead of his time. My sincere condolences to Sue and the family. RIP Keith … a truly wonderful man … a one off.

  31. Keith was inspirational, unique and had an engaging intellect, a calming influence which left all who came in contact with him enlivened and invigorated in whatever related field of Academia or Sports Performance Analysis. RIP Keith

  32. So sad to read of Keith’s death. He was one of my lecturers at St Mary’s, I always remember him as such a caring and personable person whose door was always open to help his students. Sincere condolences to all of his family. RIP Keith

  33. Keith was an amazing mentor and support to my development as a coach. The happy time’s I spent with him and his family still very dear to me. My love goes out to Sue, Beth and Sam Xx

  34. Very sad to hear of Keith’s passing. He was a leader in knowledge and innovation and made a significant impact in high performance sport across many countries. He was the most articulate, thoughtful and possibly the kindest man in sport. He worked tirelessly proving people, organisations and ideas can always connect. And he lived this example every day. He made the rest of us look ‘old school’ and carried people forward by his example and actions. Most of the good work in high performance sport will find Keith Lyons connected in somewhere! Keith was an inspiration and he will be greatly missed. My sincere condolences to Sue, Beth, Sam and grand-kids.

  35. I met Keith in 1977 when he was preparing for his first lecturing course in Sociology of Sport for the 4th year B.Ed degree students at St. Mary’s College, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham. He had big boots to fill as he was taking over from a very competent and popular lecturer. He filled those boots with alacrity and obvious competence right from the word go. I can see from all the tributes above that Keith continued from where he began bringing knowledge and delight to his students and fellow researchers. Keith’s obituary tells the magnificent story of a life well lived with plenty of giving and joy. He started as he meant to go on and go on he did in every aspect of life. I am so sorry that Keith has been taken from you Sue and from his family. May his memories be blessed ones for you all.

  36. We, at the West Coast Eagles, had the enormous pleasure and benefit of Keith consulting to us some years ago. His intuition, thoughtful insights and rather unique perspective on many issues provided us with a great deal to consider and he provided the platform for us to challenge our own mental models on many aspects of our game. Further to this, he regularly stayed in touch and there was much joy in seeing an email lob in the Inbox with the subject lines of “Saw This”, “I have been wondering” or “From Afar”. Upon opening, his ideas jumped from the page, many again causing us to pause and think deeply. Sport is the poorer for his passing and from all at the West Coast Eagles and, from myself personally, our deep condolences to his family and friends.

  37. Sue, Beth and Sam, my sincere condolences. Your dad enriched so many people’s life, it was a privilege to share some of that journey through our shared passion for Canoeing. Best wishes to you all, we will raise a glass to him back in the UK on a life well lived.

  38. Keith – a great and gentle man – I am lucky to have spent time with him on the river bank, and will always remember him as a truly wonderful person. Thank you. My
    love and best wishes to Sue, Sam and Beth.

  39. I’ve only known Keith for around 5 yrs, but I feel as though he’s been in my life a lot longer. He truly was the quintessential gentleman, both in manner and nature. Kind and generous with his time and always willing to lend an ear whether it be a new crazy idea related to sports analytics or just a chat about life. His constant support meant a lot to me in a pretty bleak period of my life, and the comments above show I wasn’t alone in having him in my corner. Everyone I’ve spoken to about him recently has said exactly the same thing… “Keith was such a lovley guy”. Not a bad legacy to leave behind, though he was so much more than that.
    My life has been enriched by knowing him. Vale Keith.

  40. “Gareth, we have the second best job in the world!”. This would be Keith’s declaration to me during our time together, wether after a good day or after a sleepless, work-filled night.
    I first met Keith at the old Severn Bridge Aust Services in 1991. It was a day that would shape the rest of my professional and academic life. We had been brought together by a common interest in sports notation, specifically rugby. On first sight, he didn’t look like a rugby person. Having heard him talk, he certainly didn’t sound like one but the manner in which he eloquently and uniquely shared his thoughts on all things analysis … in fact, on all things, would influence me profoundly as we went on our journey.
    That decade was hard to fathom. Thanks to Keith, I would be sitting in the CNA room in Cyncoed with such rugby legends and inspiring minds as Brian Thomas, Alec Evans and Kevin Bowring. However, the surprising thing would be that it was Keith who would be advising them and not the other way around. He had an innate ability to be measured and thoughtful in what he expressed and when he expressed it. Delighted but calm post-victory, reassuring and philosophical post-defeat – and there were many of those in Welsh rugby in the 90s.
    We travelled extensively during that time, analysing different sports throughout Britain, but Keith would always have time for his family. Having worked solidly in front of the video, carefully and meticulously notating in his own distinctive way, he would then be off with Sue to watch (and coach) Sam and Beth in their canoeing events. Keith loved those days.
    Keith paid my first remuneration from his personal cheque book – confident that, soon, our hard work would be rewarded. He bought me my first Barbour wax jacket, with matching hat (!) to ensure that I was warm and dry when covertly filming the English Under 21s on the terraces at Newcastle Rugby. He loved the fact that I was a Welsh speaker and he would always make sure that I was made to feel as important as the next person in the room. He would insist that I never worked for him, no, I worked with him.
    Keith mentored me through my PhD, passionate about how important it was to have an accredited PhD in the field of Performance Analysis. The truth is, though, he mentored me through everything at that time. This would be the case for a number of students and colleagues that passed through the CNA and CPA. Keith made sure that my time at the Centre with himself, Alun Carter and so many others would be enjoyable and always happy to reflect back upon.
    Ah yes, the “second best job in the world!”? Only just behind Father Christmas, Keith would conclude!
    The thoughts of the Potter family are with Sue, Beth and Sam, their family and friends at this very sad time. Thanks for everything Keith. Diolch yn fawr

  41. I’m so so sad to hear this news. “Unique” is an overused word nowadays, but I have genuinely never met anyone else like Keith.
    I had the immense good fortune to work with Keith and learn from him while I was an educational designer at the University of Canberra in 2016-2017. I’d moved to Australia from the UK and Keith was incredibly understanding and supportive when I struggled with missing my family and friends on the other side of the world. When my mum came out to Canberra to visit me, he insisted on spending one of his days off picking us up from the city and driving us out to Braidwood for lunch and a walk – he was so kind and generous and of course the perfect host/tour guide.
    More than anyone I know, Keith had an incredible capacity for listening to and valuing other people. Even when I felt out of my depth in a conversation, he always made me feel that my contributions were interesting and useful. We kept in touch after I moved back to the UK and when I emailed him in January to let him know that I’d started my own learning design business, he was as excited and encouraging as always.
    I feel so glad to have spent time with him, and I will miss our email exchanges very much indeed.

  42. It is with great sadness to read of the death of Keith. Bob worked alongside Keith for the Welsh Canoeing Association as a Slalom Coach for several years and welcomed his knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport, which was contagious throughout the Welsh Squad. Bob was very fortunate to have shared the many training camps and competitions both at home and abroad with Keith. A great and gentle man who will be sadly missed by all.
    Our sincere condolences to Sue, Beth and Sam in their loss.
    Bob and Kath Ratcliffe

  43. Gutted to have lost such an inspirational man who was so generous with his time, wisdom and encouragement.
    Thank you for helping me through a tough time in my career and for always being so positive, enthusiastic and creative.
    Our thoughts are with Sue, Beth and Sam.
    Love and best wishes.
    Paul Ratcliffe

  44. My grateful thanks for your thoughtful and heartfelt eulogy for Keith. I am so deeply saddened to hear that he has passed away.
    I got to know Keith during his time at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra where I worked as a Basketball Coach and then worked with Coaches from many sports facilitating opportunities for their their ongoing development. He had an incredibly positive impact upon me from our first meeting and exemplified those very Australian characteristics of mateship, loyalty, good humour, a tremendous sense of right, the highest ideals and values and “fair dinkumness”.
    Keith was one of those people who when you first met felt as if you had known for years. He had an amazing capacity for putting people completely at ease which enabled the establishment of such genuine, effective and meaningful relationships. It was through these relationships that his overriding quality of generosity of spirit not only became evident to me but was continuously demonstrated whenever I saw him interact with such a broad range of people. It was as if Keith’s mission was to ensure that through interacting with him people gained a sense of value and worth and were much the better for having had the chance to meet and interact with him. He always made time for people and showed an overwhelming interest in their personal welfare and continuing growth and was of enormous support to me. He was and continues to be such an inspiration; encouraging all to dream big dreams and pursue them.
    My life and I am sure the lives of countless others is so enriched by having the grateful privilege of Keith being part of it.
    My deepest sympathy and sincere condolences to Keith’s Family and friends. I’m sure that the very happy memories which we all hold of Keith will help sustain us through this sad and difficult time and beyond.
    Requiescet In Pace Keith Lyons.
    Patrick Hunt.

  45. Keith and Beth (a committee member) have been long time supporters of the Foundation. Keith has been an inspirational speaker at Presentation Evening, a member of the applicant interview panel and assisted many individual recipients in achieving their goals, all without fanfare.
    We feel very privileged and humbled that Keith was so passionate about the Foundation that he had requested in lieu of flowers that donations be made to us to continue to provide the opportunity for Braidwood’s youth to further their education. Ethical until the very end.
    Keith will be greatly missed by our community and his wonderful family.
    My thoughts and love Amanda Hall

  46. What a sad day when I heard of Keith’s passing. I always looked forward to connecting with Keith when I was in Canberra. I had the pleasure of dealing with Keith when he was at the AIS, I kept in touch when he was at the University of Canberra plus as he consulted with various organisations globally. He was a very kind, thoughtful and generous person who always asked how you where doing and loved to talk about the sports technology industry. Keith was the “Godfather” of Sports Technology and he was always two steps ahead of everyone else. He had a brilliant mind, analysing, creating and applying his trade. I like many others am proud to call Keith a friend of mine and he will be greatly missed. RIP Keith Lyons.

  47. A very touching obituary.
    I had the pleasure of meeting Keith at The University of Canberra.
    From the moment I met him, you felt his warm, caring and good humoured soul.
    Keith was a pleasure to work with, a great person to chat with about sport, someone who was always up for a challenge, and most importantly, someone who always believed in you, even when you couldn’t.
    He will be very much missed around the sporting world, and I wish the Lyons family all the very best for the future. Your husband, father, grandfather, brother, and son was a wonderful man and I am lucky to have met him.
    Rest In Peace……..

  48. Thank you for sharing this obituary, it is a wonderful insight into a terrific man who will absolutely be missed by many. It’s terrific to see more about the incredible life lived and the achievements throughout it, especially considering someone of Keith’s humility often didn’t like to talk too much about himself!
    I was fortunate enough to meet Keith close to a decade ago through my studies at the University of Canberra and remember being struck by how approachable and collaborative he was. I had never come across somebody so willing and genuine in sharing knowledge and life experience. Being new to the city at the time, Keith and his approach to education had a great positive impact on me having taken a punt on finishing my study in a new region.
    In late 2011, as I’d move into a full-time working role as part of the IT Services group I am still with, it was Keith who encouraged me to combine my work with postgraduate study. His approach and support enabled me to dive into work and to share the knowledge gained in the role to inform my thesis and a new level of study. I have been forever grateful for Keith’s support and the influence it has had on my career, study and me as a person.
    Something I’ll miss is the odd Wednesday sneak away from work for his pizza lunch. Meeting different people from all walks of life was amazing. Some of the best memories from those are actually the odd occasion it was a quiet one and I’d find myself sitting with Keith and Ron Smith and just listening. Those that know me will vouch for the fact that’s not easy for me but in this case, hearing those two men talking about life, sporting analysis and, mostly, football, made that simple. Keith actually introduced Ron and I when we were both studying under his guidance. Ron has been a wonderful friend ever since and, for me, this was another example of how brilliantly Keith connected people.
    It didn’t matter if I’d not seen or spoken to Keith for a week, a month or (sometimes, unfortunately) a little bit longer, we picked right up from where we’d left off. Keith would always ask about my parents and brother, despite the fact he’d only met them in person once. When my mother passed away a couple of years back, I remember how caring he was in the way he’d ask how things were and ensuring we were looking after ourselves – he had an incredible ability to make people feel comfortable and cared for and I certainly remember how much that helped me.
    I’ve been part of the group working to bring the A-League to Canberra and the Capital Region over the past couple of years and remember vividly how big a supporter of the cause Keith became. He spent hours with us as a bid team, working through ideas on what we could bring to a sporting organisation and community that would be innovative and unique. Keith’s vision for a club and a community that lived a full football life – both on and off the field – is something that has influenced the group greatly. Speaking to other members of that Collective this week, we spoke about the motivation to work even harder to make that come to life in honour of Keith and playing a small part in carrying on his legacy.
    My life was made better by knowing Keith and his guidance, influence, knowledge, compassion and humility have been a great influence on me personally. While I only met Sam, I know just how proud Keith was of his family. I have no doubt as a family, you’re sitting back proud as can be reading these wonderful tributes to Keith flow down the page. It’s telling of the great man he is. RIP, Keith Lyons.

  49. Keith was one of those rare individuals who genuinely touched the spirit of nearly everybody he came into contact with. A towering intellect, nevertheless his compassion and emotional intelligence was even more striking. In a world where science and statistics are often held as somehow antithetical to feeling and human insight, Keith’s very existence proved that a nonsense. Vale Keith, it was a privilege to know you and I am a better person for it.

  50. Both Melissa and myself are surprised to hear this news and grateful for the time we spent with Keith. He was approachable, inspirational, and always greeted us with a smile. A lovely humble man. Our sincere condolences to Sue, Beth and Sam

  51. Vale Keith.Thank you Sue, Beth, Sam, Harriet, Jonno, Ivy, and Jolyon for inviting us to share Keith’s funeral. I will soon finish the PhD that we started together, Keith. I am so fortunate to have had you as a guide and when it is finally finished I will consider this work to be ours. Your enduring faith in me has been a true gift. You were the finest of men. You continue to be. Rest well.

  52. Thank you for streaming the funeral.
    There’s is nothing more to add to all the comments from around the world, so I thought I’d reflect on just how good a teacher of performance analysis (PA) Keith was.
    During the 1990s as we migrated from paper and video tapes to digital video capture and rudimentary databases Keith and I enjoyed many robust discussions at CPA in Cardiff and at conference around the world. My interactions with Keith were always the highlight of any visit to the UK and I enjoyed very second I had with him. It didn’t matter what sport we were discussing, canoeing, bowls, hockey and of course, rugby, the debate was all encompassing.
    The date was 27 June 1998, the place Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria. Wales v South Africa. Keith had complimentary tickets and so did I from our respective teams. Not wishing to miss out on spending an afternoon with the guru, I sat with Keith, proudly wearing the rainbow coloured scarf of the SA national team. That was until around half time. Keith’s tickets were not in the area reserved for player’s/team guests, but in the centre of the Welsh touring fans. By half time, the writing was on the wall, Wales were losing heavily, and my scarf was secreted away and I reverted to my broad Teesside accent to blend in with the red crowd. The final score 96-13 to SA paled into insignificance compared to Keith’s acknowledgement that digital PA had arrived in SA and was the future of real-time decision support in many sports.He was the galvaniser.
    My fondest memories of Keith were made discussing, debating, assessing, considering, reflecting, sketching and scenario planning the future of Notational Analysis in the digital era in a 4m x 4m office in Wales. I will treasure them always, simply magical times.
    Guru RIP

  53. I only got to meet Keith in 2010 when I was part way through a PhD at University of Canberra. I was a mature age student like several other of his postgrads. I needed a new supervisor as my previous ones had moved on, retired or were just not interested. From my first meeting with Keith in his paperless office in the Sports faculty at UC we just seemed to gel. He was a warm and genuinely enthusiastic supporter from day one in his role as my prime supervisor. But he was much more than an academic supervisor. We shared our visions of life, he was genuinely interested in my passions and was just an amazingly positive person. My previous experience with supervisors meant waiting for weeks for feedback. Keith would be back within days with great attention to detail and always positively constructive comments. Together we ran a very successful cycle tourism conference at UC in 2012. He facilitated a number of sessions and provided the glue that brought it all together. When I submitted my final PhD thesis we had a bit of an issue with one of my assessors being less than positive in her assessment. Keith with great patience and insight saw me through this stressful period to address the issues and personally saw that my thesis was finally approved I would not have got through without his unwavering support. I only knew Keith for about 10 years from 2010 and did not have a lot of contact after 2014. My last communication was in September 2019 by email I share this as it was typical, when his own health was failing, of his view of other people and the world in general. “I keep an eye on you Dennis. I am delighted we are in touch. Your work inspires me. Warmest wishes. Keith” farewell to a very special human being. Dr Dennis Puniard

  54. I knew Keith as a child growing up with my best friend, Keith’s younger sister Judy – many happy memories of life in the family home -Park road,Buckley and escapades when Keith was in charge of us. So very sad that he has left the world so young. So many many fantastic achievements throughout his life. My thoughts are with all of his family.

  55. Keith and I shared a real interest in sports notation, sports sociology and cultural studies. I had met him briefly when he was at St Mary’s Twickenham but came to know him well whilst we worked together at Cardiff Metropolitan University. he was such an outstanding intellectual and and even more inspirational, kind and passionate person. I was partly responsible in encouraging him to return to higher education at Cardiff to build our applied research and teaching reputation in performance analysis and sports coaching. What he, supported by Gareth Potter, Alan Carter, Professor Mike Hughes and John Stanhope in those early years, achieved is a testament to his unique ability to inspire, mentor and guide. He was quite simply an amazing person, as an academic, friend and parent. Wherever he went and whoever he met he left people uplifted, more thoughtful and reflective. Best wishes to Sue and family at this difficult time. RIP Keith
    Dr Peter Treadwell, Barry, S Wales.

  56. I know Keith via the education networks and his linking from host blog posts to mine, and vice versa, finding one back in 2008 and the most recent just this past January, plus path crossing in twitter. It is with great sadness to read of Keith’s passing via Stephen Downes’s OLdaily. He has always gracious, thoughtful, and enthusiastic in his writing. But in reading about his life here, I really new little about how much he did and how many people he truly touched.
    Sending deep sympathies to Keith’s friends and family. Thanks for keeping his story alive here.

  57. Keith was a warm and encouraging host when I was in Australia for a learning speaking series. Conversation that ran all over the place, good food (visiting a bakery!) and many emails in between. From a random online connection to a warm, human connection. Keith was a master at connecting.

  58. I was saddened by the news of Keith’s passing. I am grateful for having known Keith and to have been able to have spent time discussing our passion of athletic performance. Keith’s knowledge and inspiration lives on through many coach and athlete that he impacted. Keith’s kindness and compassion for humanity will live on for generations to come.

  59. I was fortunate to meet Keith during his time at the AIS. He was a man of vision and great passion and truly cared for others and helping them be the best that they can. My deepest sympathies to his family. R.I.P

  60. Jean Lloyd nee Catherall Noel Catherall’s daughter, Keith’s uncle. Keith was my cousin and I have only just found out about his passing which saddens me greatly. We were the only cousins in the large Catherall gang of cousins who were the same age. His sister used to come and stay with us from time to time when Auntie Joan (his Mum) was ill, so we were close when we were young. Although I didn’t know his family well we last met at his Mum’s funeral in Buckley. Sending my sympathies to the family . He’s had a wonderful life .

  61. As a tribute to Keith we have renamed our Academy that he was leading when he passed away as the Keith Lyons Academy of Qualitative Analytics -www.sportswizard.com In recent years Keith worked increasingly on Qualitative analytics as a new frontier for performance analysis, his great love. His writings on this are profound and his work has been recently shared on the global stage. As when he started in performance analysis – he was and is a true pioneer.

  62. In a bid to reconnect with past mentors and positive role models in my life, it was tragic to read that Keith had passed away. Keith took me under his wing for a brief but exciting transition in my Canoe Slalom career, I say exciting not because I was motivated at the time but because I got to know the true Keith Lyons, a man who devoted so much of his time to others and expected only that you try your best and be true to yourself. Being a young and stupid teenager at the time, I have a great sense of regret that I never thanked him for all the kind words and wisdom that he imparted on me. Keith you were a true gentleman and the world is a lesser place without your presence. My thoughts are with the rest of the Lyons family.

  63. I’ve just learned of Keith’s death having seen this beautiful obituary on a St Mary’s College former students’ Facebook page.
    Keith was a huge influence on me as a teacher. He demanded that we as prospective should be questioning and analytical but that we should also be sensitive to our students.
    He was so kind and very profound. Liz and I have a letter from Keith after our first child died while I was in my third year. He had been born premature. It was beautiful and so comforting. Keith was full of humanity.
    He had a mischievous sense of humour too.. So sad that I couldn’t hook up with him when he was on a visit to Devon a few years back. What a loss. For Sue, who taught me Dance at St Mary’s, my heart goes to you and your family.

  64. I too have only just learnt of Keith’s death after thumbing through some internet files on women’s lacrosse and reading an obituary for Vivien Jones – another untimely death. I knew Sue Lyons better than Keith but recall them both running a coaching/umpiring course at Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire, probably in the 1980’s. Keith told me off for being late!, Not one to mince his words. So sad he’s no longer with us.
    Roger Thomas
    Umpire, Women’s World Cup Final, Tokyo, 1997

  65. Hello Sue,

    So very sorry …I have just read about Keith(1/2/2023).

    Both of you helped me at St Mary’s back in the late 70’s.

    Apparently you spoke up for me regarding my final teaching practice…(someone wanted to fail me)..you were also gracious in awarding me a B+ in dance as well!.

    Keith had become rugby coach at St Mary’s and had helped coach the rugby 1st XV. and certainly me as a naive Captain..

    Always a deliberate man who carefully considered his responses.

    A man with compassion.

    Eternal rest grant unto him.


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