Longtime Bethpage High School trainer Joe Killeen, seen assisting a...

Longtime Bethpage High School trainer Joe Killeen, seen assisting a player at a recent football game, died Sunday at age 60. Credit: William Carabott

Joe Killeen III always was ready to help people, whether it was tending to an injured athlete or training someone to run more efficiently.

Killeen was a physical therapist and the athletic trainer at Bethpage High School for 25 years. He also was a professional speed trainer who worked with athletes in all sports.

Killeen, of Islip, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in April 2020 and died on Sunday morning after getting pneumonia and COVID-19, his family said. He was 60.

“He lived for his family and to serve the Bethpage community," said his son, Will Killeen of Manhattan. "It was his wish to be home from the hospital and surrounded by family. He passed peacefully.”

Joe Killeen was the owner of All American Speed and Conditioning in Islip, which designed personalized, sport-specific performance training programs for professional, college and high school athletes and teams. He trained three Long Island lacrosse players who won the Tewaaraton Award — given to the best college lacrosse player each year — in Rob Pannell of Cornell University (2013), Matt Danowski of Duke University (2007) and Doug Shanahan of Hofstra University (2001). Killeen also worked with Mepham High School's Amos Zeroeue, who played seven seasons in the NFL for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots.

“He was known as ‘Joe the Trainer,’ ” said Janet, his wife of 33 years. “He touched the lives of countless people during his 36-year career. He freely shared his gifts of kindness and compassion without hesitation or reservation with patients, athletes, co-workers, friends, neighbors and strangers. At home, he was an extraordinary husband and parent, who loved his family unconditionally. Joe’s unwavering devotion and support were the bedrock of our lives. He is my soul mate.”

Joe Killeen, the eldest son of the late Sarah and Joseph Peter Killeen Jr., was born in West Islip and graduated in 1980 from West Islip High School, where he ran track and field. He went on to Lynchburg College in Virginia and lettered in varsity sports all four years.

He was Lynchburg’s first All-American in track and field and competed in as many as nine events at a meet, including the 400 intermediate hurdles, 200, 400, 800, triple and long jumps, pole vault and the 4x200 and 4x400 relay teams.

“My dad was a big-time, all-around athlete on campus,” Will Killeen said. “He even filled in on the wrestling and baseball teams and was invited to a Los Angeles Angels baseball tryout.”

Joe Killeen was inducted into the Lynchburg College Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.

He graduated with a bachelor of arts in physical education in 1985 and joined the staff of Plainview Physical Therapy in 1986, beginning a lifetime career of caring for others.

Danowski, who now coaches lacrosse at Duke, played football at Farmingdale High School and won a Long Island Championship in 2001.

“He was so knowledgeable and had a great way of communicating with athletes,” Danowski said. "He had a common-sense approach on how to work your body more efficiently. I always remember hearing Joe in my head saying, ‘Stare at a target and hit it,’ when I was running. And it worked. He always had so much energy and such a positive impact on our Farmingdale football teams.”

Though he was never a long-distance runner, Will Killeen said he wanted to do something special for his father and decided to run the New York City Marathon in 2021.

“He made me a training program to get ready for the marathon,” the son said. “He was going through the treatments for pancreatic cancer and the day of the race he was still bouncing around New York City moving to four different sites to motivate and cheer me on. And crossing that finish line meant more to me than anything I’d done athletically in my life. Just seeing his face and how proud he was … wow.”

Will Killeen raised $18,000 in his father’s name in the fight to find a cure for pancreatic cancer.

In addition to his wife and son, Joe Killeen is survived by his daughter, Caroline, of South Windsor, Connecticut; and his four brothers Michael of Bay Shore, Timothy of Farmingdale, Thomas of Stony Brook and Gregory of Houston, Texas.

A wake will be held Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Fredrick J. Chapey & Sons Funeral Home at 1225 Montauk Hwy., West Islip.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Saturday St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church on 9 N. Clinton Ave., Bay Shore. Burial will follow at St. Patrick Cemetery, 225 Brentwood Rd., Bay Shore.

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