Keith Cordes (left) with Long Beach State volleyball coach Brian Gimmillaro and longtime friend Dan Gooch at a Century Club banquet
Longtime Long Beach sports booster and former Century Club president Keith Cordes passed away recently at the age of 81 of pancreatic cancer.
Cordes, who was born in August of 1939, was fondly remembered as a generous spirit who worked hard to further the cause of athletics in the city.
“Keith exemplified all that was good as a human being and was especially dedicated to the sporting scene in Long Beach,” said Dan Gooch, a past president of the Century Club and longtime friend of Cordes’. “He worked with every entity in Long Beach to further sports.”
Cordes was a football standout at Jordan High, LBCC, and at the University of Washington, where he led the Huskies to a pair of Rose Bowl appearances and was voted “Most Inspirational Husky” by his teammates. After retiring from football Cordes went on to a decorated FBI career, always volunteering time to help out Long Beach schools where he could.
Gooch, Cordes and Skip Rowland founded the Wilson High Alumni Golf Tournament more than three decades ago, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the school. It wasn’t just the high schools and colleges, though, Cordes hosted live auctions for Rogers Middle School to help them raise money as well–he was always a willing volunteer to anyone who needed help.
Cordes also sponsors an award through the Century Club’s annual Sports Night banquet, the Keith Cordes Award for the best promotion of the city of Long Beach through sports–the award dates back to 1969. The Grunion sports section has won that award twice, alongside Chris Pook, Jim McCormack, Beverly O’Neill, Bob and Sylvia Maxson, Don Knabe and others.