Retired professor to compete on TV show with family


Photo Courtesy of KRBX

(From left to right) Retired WSC professor Keith Willis, Amy Nordness, Katie Morrow, Host Steve Harvey, Anne Tucker and Ty Tucker all competed on “Family Feud” with Willis’ daughters and son-in-law.

Joseph Lovercheck, Staff Writer

It’s not every day that you get to meet a celebrity. Or appear on television. But it is even rarer that you get to do both in one experience.

Dr. Keith Willis, a retired counseling professor, and his family got the opportunity of a lifetime— to appear on the television show “Family Feud” next Tuesday (April 19).

The Willis family went to try-outs for the show in Omaha last summer. There are hundreds of teams that try out, and the show selects families who they think will be entertaining.

“Basically, my daughter organized it,” Willis said. “We thought it would be fun and a challenge.”

After the try-out stage, the teams that are selected have to get to Atlanta to do the show. Finding a time that works for everybody on the team can be difficult at times, but Willis’s family got it done.

In Atlanta, Willis mentioned that it was fun to meet Steve Harvey, the host of the show.

“[Harvey] chatted a lot inbetween programs,” Willis said. “We learned a lot about him. He is a talker and quite a character.”

“They want you to be enthusiastic, and they really don’t care if you are good at the game,” Willis said. “When you are on the show trying to give answers, and someone gives an answer before you, that you were going to give, it is really hard to come up with another one. It’s a lot harder when you have all the lights on you than when you are at home.”
Willis said that most teams need to allow three days for the stay in Atlanta and appearance on the show.

His team was composed of three of his daughters and a son-in-law. His daughter Anne Tucker and her husband Ty Tucker both graduated from Wayne. Katie Morrow and Amy Nordness and Willis round out the team.

Willis was a teacher at WSC for 16 years. During his time here, he taught a variety of courses. He also served as the chair for the Department of Counseling, the advisor for Tau Upsilon Alpha, and was co-chair of the President’s Council for Diversity.

Willis earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics in 1969, a master’s degree in psychology in 1974 and a Ph.D. in social-personality psychology, from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The Willis family will appear in Episode 15-166 of “Family Feud” when it is scheduled to air next Tuesday at 11 a.m. on ABC. On campus, that is channel 9-1.

In case you miss that one, there should be another showing at 1 p.m. the same day.