Basketball is a dynamic game: offense to defense in a split second, players must know every position on the court and play different roles, and each game is unpredictable. Jack, my dad, was a dynamic man. He played many roles: father, husband, brother, coach, speaker, mentor, and friend. He hit game winning shots and lost games he should have won.

Born November 10th, 1948 in Green Bay, Wisconsin to Jack and Leona Renkens, he recorded 73 years of wins and losses, ending his final season on December 14, 2021.

Try to remember our wins and what we have learned from our losses. As his daughter, I lost every game of one-on-one we ever played, ever. I grew up thinking that all teams won championships, until I saw they didn’t. There were countless games of one-on- one at Colby Community College (Kansas), North Brookfield playground (Massachusetts), our front yard (Oakham, Massachusetts), and Laska Gymnasium and The Plourde (Worcester, Massachusetts). My only advantage was that my dad could not score in the paint. His lesson to me was that you had to earn your victories.

His coaching victories spanned from Winslow, Arizona to Worcester, Massachusetts and included many Coach of Year awards, keys to the city, and conference titles. For every win and every loss there was a team of coaches, players, and family at his side. I do not know if there is a great enough pre-game or halftime speech to prepare us all for this game.

Although he stopped coaching decades ago, every coach leaves a lineage, a coaching tree. Recall at least one baseline out of bounds or tip play that remains your go to. Remember every ball handling drill he taught you. Remember that he knew you by name.

I grew up doing dribbling drills blindfolded, sleeping with a basketball, and thinking everyone had at least 12 older brothers. He provided opportunities for me as well as numerous players and coaches across the country.

If you are reading this, you are his fan. In lieu of a formal remembrance, teach, command respect, and practice: use your left hand, shoot the 100 shot drill and make 100, never miss a free throw, always be ready to play.


Yours in Sport,
Brooke Renkens