On the gridiron that year, the bearcats forged an impressive 8-2 record; including six shutouts. They easily won the Northwest Conference title; outscoring their five opponents 218-7 The team included future Willamette University Athletic Hall of Fame selections Ted Ogdahl, Marvin Goodman, Dick Weisgerber (assistant coach) and Keene.
after losing only to the University of Idaho on the mainland, the Bearcats thought they'd be in for a treat with a trip to Hawaii. The football teams from Willamette and San Jose were to play a series of games with the University of Hawaii called the Shrine Bowl.
In the first game of the Shrine Bowl on Dec. 6 Willamette lost a 20-6 contest against the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. The next morning, the Willamette contingent was preparing for a tour of the island when Japanese forces bombed Pearl Harbor. That led to the United States' Involvement in World War II.
After the initial attack, Keene volunteered his players and male supporters for 10 days of guard duty.