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Coaching to a T: Joe Tremarello provided great example for others

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Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 12:06 am | Updated: 4:15 pm, Fri Jan 25, 2013.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Editorial

Naming the “Coach T Court” at Lathrop High School on Saturday recognized not just the long service to the community of an extraordinary man, Joe Tremarello, but also the way in which he went about that service.

Those who spoke during the pre-game dedication ceremony described Tremarello’s unflagging upbeat attitude and the lift it gave those around him.

Gary Wilken, who played on the 1964 Lathrop state championship team under Tremarello’s coaching, said such individuals are treasures for the next generation. He said he hoped all young people would find a “Coach T” in their lives.

“I can’t describe what that person will look like, nor when he or she will enter your young life, but you’ll know it when it happens, so embrace it, live it and celebrate it,” he said.

Tremarello’s attitude was a lifelong habit. In 1953, the Daily News-Miner wrote about Tremarello’s selection for the sportsmanship award after the Fairbanks High School team won the Railbelt conference championship. The game’s referee said Tremarello never complained, even though, as the News-Miner sports editor noted, some questionable fouls calls might have given him a reason. “A great competitor, but always a gentleman on the court,” the editor said.

Tremarello spent much of the past two decades as a volunteer assistant basketball coach at Lathrop. He died in September, but such a person’s ability to provide guidance can live long after their passing. Lathrop’s coach, Milo Griffin, recognized that in an interview after Saturday’s dedication ceremony. “I’m hoping he’s right here someplace,” Griffin said as he tapped a shoulder. “I need him.”

We all need him and others like him. Many of us have the capacity to approach life in such a fashion, but we don’t always know how, or we aren’t compelled to do so. People such as Joe Tremarello show us how — and why.

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