Basketball fraternity mourns the passing of Ken Burmeister

Ken Burmeister. The Incarnate Word men's basketball team opened the season with an 87-71 victory over Southwestern on Friday night. (Joe Alexander /

Ken Burmeister won 311 games in a 21-year career with head coaching jobs at UTSA, Chicago (Loyola), Trinity and the University of the Incarnate Word.

Friends and basketball coaching colleagues on Tuesday paid tribute to the late Ken Burmeister, a fiery head coach who led programs at UTSA, Trinity and the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio.

The passing of Burmeister, 72, was reported first in a tweet from former UIW assistant coach John Smith.

Burmeister, who won 311 games in a 21-year head coaching career, is best known for leading the UTSA Roadrunners to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1988.

He posted two 20-win seasons in four years with the Roadrunners through 1990.

Most recently, Burmeister worked a dozen seasons at UIW.

Hired by former UIW president Dr. Louis Agnese in 2006, Burmeister posted three 20-win seasons with the Cardinals.

In 2013-14, UIW opened a four-year transition into the NCAA Division I Southland Conference.

Under Burmeister, the Cardinals posted road eye-opening victories at St. John’s and at Nebraska in their transition.

He was fired after a 7-21 season in 2017-18.

His combined record has been calculated at 311-281 based on an online examination of his tenure at UTSA, Loyola-Chicago, Trinity and UIW.

Burmeister, a graduate of St. Mary’s, first made a name for himself as an assistant on Lute Olson’s staffs at Iowa and Arizona.

Burmeister’s tenure at UIW was highlighted by upset victories on the road at Princeton and Nebraska in 2014-15 and at St. John’s in 2015-16.

Guard Denzel Livingston led the Cardinals’ high-powered offensive attack and later earned an invitation to the Houston Rockets’ training camp.

Burmeister is survived by his wife, Brenda, and two children, Amanda and Sam. A student-athlete at UIW, Sam Burmeister played in 100 games and made 56 starts for his father between 2013 and 2018.

Ken Burmeister

Year by Year

1986-1987 UTSA, 13-15
1987-1988 UTSA, 22-9 NCAA tournament
1988-1989 UTSA, 15-13
1989-1990 UTSA, 22-7
1994-1995 Loyola (Chicago), 5-22
1995-1996 Loyola (Chicago), 8-19
1996-1997 Loyola (Chicago), 12-15
1997-1998 Loyola (Chicago), 15-15
1998-1999 Trinity University, 16-9
x2006-2007 UIW, 1-28 (18-11)
2007-2008 UIW, 17-11
2008-2009 UIW, 23-7
2009-2010 UIW, 23-7
2010-2011 UIW, 16-10
2011-2012 UIW, 16-11
x2012-2013 UIW, 12-16 (14-14)
2013-2014 UIW, 21-6
2014-2015 UIW, 18-11
2015-16 UIW, 17-12
2016-17 UIW, 12-17
2017-18 UIW, 7-21

Total: 311-281

Note – Burmeister coached Division III Trinity in 1998-99. Incarnate Word played in Division II from his arrival in 2006 through the 2012-13 season. Burmeister led UIW into a four-year Division I transition starting in 2013.

x – Indicates record adjustments because of NCAA violations in both 2006-07 and 2012-13. Actual records are in parentheses.