Ken Sartini AKA Coach Sar In Hospice

By Joe Haefner

We wanted to give you a heads up that our dear friend and colleague Ken Sartini AKA “Coach Sar” is in hospice.


For those of you familiar with our website, you’ve probably seen thousands of comments and posts from Coach Sar.

Coach Sar has had a tremendous positive impact on thousands of players, parents, and coaches.

If Coach Sar has helped you directly or indirectly in some way… could you either leave a comment at the bottom of this article. Please let him know how he’s positively affected you.

Or if you prefer facebook, leave a comment at the following link:

I want to send this to him in the next day with tons of good vibes!


  1. Joe Haefner — January 9, 2015 @ 6:00 pm

    Coach Sar, my man! I can’t explain to you how much of a positive influence you’ve had on my life. Not only did I learn a ton about the great game of basketball… more importantly, you taught me how to communicate with people in order to have a more positive influence on their lives.

    The amount of time you would spend with invidividuals on this website through leaving comments on articles and on forum posts showed the amount love you had for other and how much you cared about them.

    I truly admire you and hope that I can be half the man that you are some day.

    And you always make me smile and laugh. Your funny stories about one of your players spitting water in your face at the end of a game in a time out…. to handing your glasses to referees at another game. I’m smiling right now thinking about it.

    Get better soon!

  2. Jimmy K — January 9, 2015 @ 6:19 pm

    Coach Sar…you are in our thoughts and prayers. Thanks for the great words of wisdom and constant advice on the website. Your passion for the game is contagious. I hope you get well soon!

  3. Steve Dement — January 9, 2015 @ 6:58 pm

    Coach Sar-
    My prayers are for you right now. Thank you for the impact you have had on my career (even with 38 years, I did learn that you can teach an old dog new tricks!).
    Your contributions and knowledge that you have shared with all of us in the coaching fraternity will be used and passed on to the next generations for many years to come. God bless you, my friend, and many thanks again.

  4. Coach Rick — January 9, 2015 @ 7:11 pm

    Coach Sar, Thank you for the contributions, knowledge and love of the game you have give us, and by us I mean Dads, Coaches and thousands of kids. You know as I am getting older and have recently lost both my parents I think more and more about my own mortality. I have come to the realization that the best we can hope for is to make a positive impact on other’s lives and try to leave some sort of legacy. You are most definately a role model to all of us in this regard. I hope that you find some peace in the assurance that you have touched so many lives in a very positive way. Although I don’t know you personally, I feel like I do, as you and your contributions have helped me to become a better coach and father. Thank you and God bless you and your family.
    Coach Rick

  5. Bart M — January 9, 2015 @ 7:12 pm

    Coach Sar,
    We have never met but I am huge fan. You are great advocate for coaching the right way. Many kids benefit from your work. I read your posts and then read them again and then read them again. They are packed with wisdom.
    Thanks much! Thinking of you tonight….

  6. Christine S. — January 9, 2015 @ 7:13 pm

    Thank you for your contribution to the basketball world. My prayers are being sent up for you and your family.
    Thank you and God Bless!

  7. Doug James — January 9, 2015 @ 7:33 pm

    Coach Sar, please know we are thinking of you and hope you have a speedy recovery. Your basketball advice has been invaluable to me and my kids.

    Please take the best of care.

  8. Mike T. — January 9, 2015 @ 8:05 pm

    Coach Sar – my thoughts and prayers are with you. You were one of the very first voices to offer advice to me when I joined this site several years ago and I always look forward to reading your posts. Your words have been a guiding light in my coaching career and they always also seem to be relatable to everyday living.

    God bless.

  9. Chic Hess — January 9, 2015 @ 8:10 pm

    Hang in there. Take it into OT. Your coaching wisdom will see you to the Promise Land. See my email. Aloha Old Buddy. Thanks for coming to Hawaii for our visit.

  10. Brad Stonecypher — January 9, 2015 @ 8:11 pm

    Coach Sar,

    When asking a question on the breakthrough forums, it seems your response was always the one I was looking forward to. Although we have never met in person, I feel so privileged that our paths have crossed on this site.

    I will pray daily for you and your family as you go through this period in your life. I know my team will also be sending prayers your way as well.

    Thank you for your advice and your willingness to participate here on breakthrough basketball.

    Coach Brad
    Hydaburg, AK

  11. Jim Schoenenberger — January 9, 2015 @ 8:16 pm

    Coach you are in my prayers and thoughts you were one of my main influences in running a open post offense and letting the kids play on game nights

  12. Tony Gall — January 9, 2015 @ 8:35 pm

    Mate I an only say thankyou for letting me have the honour of being a friend from so far away over the past 10 years. I will never forget our emails and occasional Skype sessions.
    See you again one day and we can again debate this great game.
    With sadness Tony, Fiona, Morgan and Tom from Australia.

  13. M. Belknap — January 9, 2015 @ 8:37 pm

    Coach – our thoughts and prayers are with you and yours! Thank you for your tremendous contribution to basketball. We have not met but have read your writings and have used your wisdom with our son’s basketball career.

    Blessings to you,
    M. Belknap

  14. Jim S. — January 9, 2015 @ 8:47 pm

    Coach Sar, you are in our thoughts and prayers! Thank you for your contribution to basketball!

  15. Quentin Brooks — January 9, 2015 @ 9:17 pm

  16. Kedwin Grady — January 9, 2015 @ 9:18 pm

    Hey Coach, you helped me out tremendously during one of the best experiences of my life, coaching elementary school kids in Detroit, MI. You and all of the guys who run this website always put things in perspective and put the kids first. I pray that God rewards you for helping to show coaches how to use basketball as a positive tool to mentor and teach life lessons to our youth. God bless you sir!

  17. Ray Lokar — January 9, 2015 @ 9:21 pm

    Coach Sar,

    I can’t tell you how many times I passed on your wisdom and I always prefaced it with ” My friend Ken Sartini from Chicago says…”

    I think all of us in the Basketball Coaching email group feel that way. You are our friend, whether we met I person or not. We got to know you and you are always such a great source of reason and information – regardless of the questions being asked.

    The Basketball Coaching community is certainly a better place because of you.

    Be strong and my prayers are always with you.

  18. Dave Taliaferro — January 9, 2015 @ 9:27 pm

    Coach Sar:

    I’m not sure if you remember me, but I will always remember you. You went out of your way several times to answer and comment on discussions I started on Breakthrough Basketball. Your knowledge was always very helpful and your enthusiasm and eagerness to help has always been much appreciated. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    - Dave

  19. Ken F. — January 9, 2015 @ 9:34 pm

    Coach, I came across this website a couple of years ago when I started coaching my son’s third grade rec team. I was in search of a resource to help me. I had a passion for the game but had never coached before. This site, and your contributions opened my eyes as to what youth basketball should be all about … Kids having fun, learning the game the right way and developing as people and athletes. I’ve leaned on you and your colleagues heavil over the past few years. It’s satisfying now to see my son and two of my players from my first team now on our towns travel team. I’d like to think that the guidance you folks gave me helped ignite a passion and desire in these kids. Thank you for your ideas, advice and wisdom and the mark you’ve left on our youth.

  20. Omar Louis — January 9, 2015 @ 9:44 pm

    Coach Sar. Thanks for providing me and many other coaches with valuable nuggets of wisdom and serving as an example of how coaching should be done the right way. May you continue to be a source of guidance to our profession. Wishing you all the best.

  21. Paul — January 9, 2015 @ 9:56 pm

    my thoughts and prayers are with you. You have helped so many

  22. Harry Bonsu — January 9, 2015 @ 10:01 pm

    Coach Sar, you and have never met, but one of the things that I have learned through my life’s journey is that the most important aspect of that journey are the people that you touch along the way. Yes you have touched me! I have used your guidance, wisdom and words to help young people further their dreams, and that Coach is helping to do God’s work. Thank you coach. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    God bless you Coach!

  23. mikeWallace — January 9, 2015 @ 10:15 pm

    Coach Sar
    I learned most of what I know about coaching youth basketball from this site. You always responded to my questions and reinforced the importance of solid fundamentals and man to man defense.By being on this site and taking time to talk to coaches around the world you have impacted thousands of kids lives for the better. God speed !

  24. Stephen Shepanski — January 9, 2015 @ 10:17 pm

    Thank you for your input and insight. Your thoughts and wisdom has made all of us better coaches and better people.

  25. anthony brown — January 9, 2015 @ 10:29 pm

    coach sar:
    may GOD bless you and GOD keep you is my prayer!

  26. Coach T — January 9, 2015 @ 10:50 pm

    Coach Sar,
    Thank you for all of your words of wisdom! You have helped me find ways to teach my young players to be better basketball players. Your incite and passion of the game is indeed contagious. Our prayers are with you and your family. Thank you for everything!

  27. Coach Rob — January 9, 2015 @ 11:54 pm

    Ken – Missed seeing your posts lately, get back here sooner than later, please. I’ve appreciated the many dialogues on the forums and in e-mails. You are one of those rare coaches that is much needed in this day and age. You get it. K.I.S.S., remember to keep it FUN, and put it where they ain’t. Your cohort in crime on the forums.

  28. Coach Guiden — January 10, 2015 @ 12:10 am

    Never have been priveldged to meet him but I have obtained a lot of knowledge about basketball from reaching his articles. Truly a gift to the game!

  29. Coach Guiden — January 10, 2015 @ 12:10 am

    May God bless you and your family!

  30. Val Whiting — January 10, 2015 @ 12:28 am

    Coach Sar, Thank you for the love you have shown all of us on the forum. Personally, you have helped me as a coach and a parent re-learn the game with new eyes. Your are a true blessing and in my prayers. Thank you.

    P.S. Thanks for making me look good as a coach. :)

  31. Coach Ed — January 10, 2015 @ 1:01 am

    Ken, we’ve never met, but I feel like I’ve known you for years! I’ve since retired, but when I was coaching, you helped me through a number of tough spots, without even knowing it. You had a profound effect on me and my approach to coaching this fine game to our young athletes. God bless you Coach Sar and your family.

  32. Patrick Hunter — January 10, 2015 @ 1:28 am

    Hey Coach,
    As a former Orangeman, I learned how to step up my game from you. You also taught me and everyone, how to enjoy life, and each other. I still am very competitive, but in a more compassionate way.
    It’s the start of the 4th coach, and I see No giving up.

  33. Heidi Banker — January 10, 2015 @ 2:43 am

    Praying for you and your family. Thanks for all the good quotes and for sharing your basketball knowledge!

  34. Tristan — January 10, 2015 @ 2:58 am

    Al the best and thankyou from New Zealand

  35. Justine — January 10, 2015 @ 4:41 am

    A special inspiration, keep strong xx

  36. Matt — January 10, 2015 @ 4:43 am

    My prayers are with you and your family

  37. Tadd — January 10, 2015 @ 5:58 am

    Coach Sar, as a basketball father, me and my boy have refrenced your writings many times. You and your family are in our prayers. You have left your imprint on many.

  38. Jeff Smith — January 10, 2015 @ 7:42 am

    Coach Sar,
    Thank you for your dedication to the game of basketball. It is great to see the posts from all over the globe. You have definitely have a left a legacy. I pray that you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. If that is the case, I get to meet you personally in Heaven. I will pray for your personal peace and comfort. God Bless you!

  39. James Gels — January 10, 2015 @ 8:53 am

    This really saddens me. I have known Ken for a number of years now… very generous, kind man, always eager to help others, whether it be coaches and players, or his young “adopted” friend that he has been caring for and mentoring for a number of years. Great wit, with a little friendly sarcasm mixed in, and has always seen how to keep things simple, uncomplicated.

    He even came to Charlevoix (MI) once, along with Creighton Burns, and came to one of our games. Ken has always been a great help and inspiration to me, and has contributed a lot of good stuff to Coach’s Clipboard website over the years… he helped me get started with it years ago. We have bounced a lot of thoughts and emails back and forth over the years.

    Great friend, buddy… thanks Ken!
    God bless,
    Dr. Jim Gels
    Coach’s Clipboard

  40. Paul — January 10, 2015 @ 9:07 am

    Coach Sar,
    Thank you for your generosity sharing your wisdom all these years and helping the basketball community around the world. Your words and advice stand the test of time.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.


  41. Chuck — January 10, 2015 @ 9:08 am

    Thank you for your time and commitment to teaching and mentoring the players of youth basketball!

    God Bless,

  42. Ara Parseghian — January 10, 2015 @ 9:30 am

    Coach Sar,

    I can’t begin to list all the ways that you’ve been a positive example for me both as a coach and a person. Although we’ve never met, I’ve learned so much from your posts on the yahoo coaching board and here on Joe and Jeff”s website. Besides the X’s and O’s, your nuggets of wisdom and truth have always given me an opportunity to think, reflect, and ultimately be a better person. I consider you one of my coaching mentors. I can’t thank you enough. My prayers are with you. May God continue to bless you and your family.
    With Appreciation,
    Ara Parseghian

  43. Frank Skubis — January 10, 2015 @ 10:47 am

    Prayers to you my man. You have been a memtor over the years for me. I have learned and laughed, thanks.

  44. Michael ODonnell — January 10, 2015 @ 1:15 pm

    Coach Sar,

    I am sorry to hear of your current challenges but I know that you will keep up the great fight. We have exchanged thoughts on numerous occasions and I have always found your views insightful. We have employed a number of your concepts offensively and defensively and our play has been improved tremendously because of the pointers you provided. Your knowledge of the game is second to none in terms of practicality and adaptability regardless of the level of play of the participants. All the best to your family and you. You have been and will continue to be in my prayers. Thanks for everything.

  45. Stepan — January 10, 2015 @ 2:31 pm

    I’ve never been so honored to meet Coach Sar but I always enjoyed his wise comments on this site. Best wishes from Russia, my thoughts are with you.

  46. Clinton Mzee — January 10, 2015 @ 4:07 pm

    Dude, you’re a big impact to that kid in africa with little access to basketball knowhow… My career won’t be one if it were.nt for you! Prayers for you :-O

  47. Clinton Mzee — January 10, 2015 @ 4:08 pm

    Kenya by the way ( East Africa )

  48. Darin Johnston — January 10, 2015 @ 4:51 pm

    Coach Sars,

    As a teacher and coach, I’m always learning and trying to stretch myself. As I’ve grown as a coach, much of that can be attributed to your words of wisdom, the advice you’ve given both myself and others, along with just a general love of life that all of us who’ve learned from you can feel. I wish you strength as you face this next step in your journey and I wish your family peace as they stand strong with you. Feel a community of coaches, one that stretches world wide wrap you in a collective hug and share the love they have for all you’ve given over the years.

    Sending positive vibes to you and your family,

    Darin – IACoachJ

  49. Guinness Rider — January 10, 2015 @ 4:52 pm

    Coach, you and the others on this site have helped shaped a new youth basketball program up here in Montreal, and have sparked the passion in many kids for a sport none of them had ever played before. Though a newcomer to the site, I spend a lot of time poring over the articles and comments, adopting and adapting for the kids in my program.

    Your intelligent, kids-centric responses and views have filtered into our day-to-day, play-to-play world. You have countless supporters who are pulling for you.

    Thank you.

  50. gary frank — January 10, 2015 @ 8:38 pm

    I have read your comments on almost every question I have about how to make sure I don’t mess up by son’s basketball experience and at one point just decided to follow all of your advice. So far so good. Don’t know you but thank you for making a positive difference in my son’s life and my life. I figure since I never post and don’t facebook there must be thousands of people who have followed your written posts just based on the level of respect people have for you. So sorry.

  51. Dave Stahnke — January 10, 2015 @ 11:03 pm

    Ken.. Im not sure if you will get this, but I want to let you know I appreciate all of the help, guidance, and support you have given me the last 10-12 years in coaching and in life! You helped me through one of my darkest and most hurtful patches in my life and coaching career! For that, I am forever greatful!
    Most importantly, I cherish our friendship! You mean the world to me!
    Dave Stahnke
    #Cut1 #ControlTheTempo
    #1-2-2 Zone Press

  52. Will Broner — January 10, 2015 @ 11:19 pm

    Coach, I am praying for strength and peace for you and your family. It has been my pleasure getting to know you. God bless.

  53. jimbiggs — January 10, 2015 @ 11:34 pm

    Coach, just wanted to say thanks for all your posts. I appreciate the time you have dedicated to helping those of us who use this website.

  54. Coach Patrick — January 11, 2015 @ 8:23 am

    I have not had the privilege of communicating with Coach Sar. I am however not just a coach but a preacher as well. I want to thank coach Sar for his dedication to the game. I pray that God will bless you in a special way. I pray that you have a full recovery if that is God’s will. I pray that you find comfort and peace. God bless you for all you have done for players and coaches like me. I wish you all the best Coach Sar and thanks for all you have done.
    Coach Patrick Walker
    Youth Christian basketball
    Wilmington NC

  55. Coach Nelson — January 11, 2015 @ 10:50 am

  56. Coach Nelson — January 11, 2015 @ 10:51 am

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Thank you for all that you have done for so many.

  57. Stephanie Nash — January 11, 2015 @ 11:19 am

    Coach Sars–thank you for your advice and insight. Peace and light to you and your family.

  58. Coach Bennett — January 11, 2015 @ 1:07 pm

    I am blessed to have met and talked person to person with Coach Sar. What a good person. He was always available to discuss a defense or an offense with me. I even had him come to my summer camp one day to help tweak my offense. He was very helpful in my development as an X’s and O’s coach and as a players coach. Peace be with you Ken.

  59. Simon — January 11, 2015 @ 5:29 pm

    Dear Coach Sar,

    Thanks for all your help that you provided in your feedback to a struggling new coach in Australia trying to work out how best to coach his players.

    The amount of time that you gave to passing on your immense basketball knowledge was incredible and we are all thankful for how freely you gave of your time to try to help us to be better coaches.

    Thanks and God bless you Ken.

  60. Frank — January 11, 2015 @ 10:06 pm

    Coach Sar, thanks for your wisdom and experience. Although I am new to the web site, and to your legend, I see by all the comments you are a tremendous influence. My prayers are with you and your family. Frank

  61. Rob Rhodes — January 12, 2015 @ 6:24 am

    Coach Sar,

    Thank you for taking the time and sharing your knowledge. My prayers are with you and your family.

    Coach Rob

  62. D.J. Brown — January 12, 2015 @ 8:18 am

    Coach Sar,

    I have used a lot of the ideas, sets, drills and resources made available through your website. However, I just wanted to let you know I remember you growing up. I remember playing against you when I played for my dad, Dave Brown at Rolling Meadows High School when you were the Head Coach at Maine East. If I wouldn’t have played for my dad, you would have been the ideal coach to play for and develop under. My family will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

    D.J. Brown
    Social Studies Teacher
    Head Boys Basketball Coach
    Tinley park High School

  63. Jean-Philippe Loignon — January 12, 2015 @ 8:49 am

    This man replied on each of every posts I left here!

    Linked me to videos, tactics etc…


    Just for the benefit of the GAME

    He doesnt even know my team from Quebec, Canada!

    it doesnt matter… He is passionate.

    Hope your passion will help you recover

    best wishes from the North

    (sorry for my poor English.. i ‘m french canadian)

  64. Kathy F. — January 12, 2015 @ 8:59 am

    Coach Sar, Thank you for sharing your wisdom and passion for this great game. I am sending prayers for you and your family from NJ.

  65. Mark Johnson — January 12, 2015 @ 9:14 am

    Coach Sar, I just wanted to say that you have always been a tremendous help and positive influence on me and by extension, my young players. Not only through basketball instruction but also through your philosophy on how to relate to and guide them as they mature. Thank you!

    Mark C. Johnson

  66. Jill W — January 12, 2015 @ 10:12 am

    You have touched many lives. Love reading your posts. Prayers to you and your family from Iowa.

  67. Joel — January 12, 2015 @ 2:45 pm

    Praying for you Coach Sar. I am new to the website, but have already received much benefit from it.

  68. Linda — January 13, 2015 @ 6:45 am

    My prayers are with you. Thanks for being such an inspiration.

  69. Michael Brown — January 13, 2015 @ 2:11 pm

    Wow I just saw the email. I just want to take a short minute and say thank you Coach Sar. Whenever I posted a question almost without exception you were the first to respond, that means way more than the actual words themselves. Many times when one is in the throws of something that’s troubling them, stopping them or hindering progress what’s really needed is an immediate response while it’s fresh on the mind. Coach Sar was that to me on numerous occasions. That says a lot about a human being and what they stand for. What I garnered mostly from him is that in the end this stuff is just basketball and what will last with the kids is how you make them feel about themselves win or lose. Thanks Coach… there need to be many many more like you.

  70. Roland Padock — January 14, 2015 @ 12:15 am

    Coach Sar,

    I do not know who you are but I do know what you are doing and I am so thankful and blessed to be loved and taught by a man who is willing to go beyond and reach out to people, specifically to anyone. People like you Sir are rare and unique. It is hard to find people like that from where I’m from. Thank you Sir and God bless you!

  71. Joann Remer — January 14, 2015 @ 3:01 pm

    You are in my prayers, even though we have never met I have benefited greatly from your words of wisdom over the years. God bless you and watch over you Coach!

  72. Seb O'Kelly aka Coach O — January 14, 2015 @ 4:04 pm

    Coach Sar,

    I am sorry to hear this news and wish you the best. You were always quick to offer advice and comments on the numerous subjects on the forums. I always respected those insights (and mostly agreed with them) as I knew not only did they come from someone with vast accumulated experience and knowledge but more importantly from a fellow traveler with a passion and true love for the game and all its moving parts from its players, coaches, fans, parents and and even refs!

  73. T. Brosnan — January 14, 2015 @ 5:05 pm

    Thanks for all of your thoughtful coaching tips and drills. Your willingness to share so much of your time is inspiring. You have touched many lives.

  74. Matt Rosen — January 21, 2015 @ 12:42 pm

    Coach Sar,

    You were a great man. I miss seeing you around the halls of Maine East back in the day! You were always very generous, friendly, and a good friend. You will be missed by many… RIP

  75. Gary Pellikan — January 21, 2015 @ 2:48 pm

    Kenny, We were extremely lucky to have u as coach in 7th and 8th grade (64 & 65). You prepared us for High School sports and we were a leg up on everybody. You molded us into tough minded, compassionate young men. Thanks Coach. Viya con Dios!

  76. Matt Marcella & Rosanne Holtien — January 21, 2015 @ 8:45 pm

    RIP my friend!!! So sorry about the loss to your friends and family.. your battle is over and may the Lord be holding you in his loving arms!!
    We have known Ken for about 10 years, and he was inspirational, loving, funny, and just an all around great person. He will be missed!!

  77. Bill Hillsman — January 21, 2015 @ 10:21 pm

    I was so sorry to hear about Ken’s passing today. He coached most of the boys (6) in our family during grammar school at St. Lambert’s in Skokie. When our mom died when I was 12– leaving 7 of us under 13 years old without a mom, and our dad was incapacitated with grief– he made a point of taking us out to do things and gave us the opportunity to talk to someone. Kenny was one of the good ones. I will never forget his kindness to me and to my brothers.

    RIP, Coach. You will be missed by many.

  78. J. McMahon — January 23, 2015 @ 12:01 am

    Coach Sar
    Thanks for the memorable games, practices, tournament road trips, scouting trips, and visits to “Mother’s Pizza”! You taught us all how to bring our best and to turn our weak spots into strengths. You took average and made them good; you took good and made them great; and you took great and made them better.

    You were a great mentor in my coaching endeavors but above all you were a great friend.

    May you rest in peace. You will be missed but not forgotten.

  79. Kenneth "JellyBean" Robinson — February 15, 2015 @ 2:38 pm

    Wow!! I am so sorry to hear of the passing of coach Sartini. I only know of coach through “BreakThroughBasketball” and sharing of information. My thoughts and prayers are with the family. RIP, Coach. Thanks for sharing information with the coaching community. You will be missed.

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