Keys played centre and linebacker for five years with the Montreal Alouettes (1949-51) and with the Edmonton Eskimos (1952-54), being named to three CFL all-star teams.
He became a coach after retiring as a player, starting as an assistant in Edmonton in 1955. He became the Eskimos' head coach in 1959, a job he held until 1963.
Keys also was the head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders (1965-70) and B.C. Lions (1971-75).
Keys played for two Grey Cup-winning teams and won one with the Roughriders in 1966.
He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame as a builder in 1990.