‘Celebration of life’ service set for coach Ken Burmeister

A ‘celebration of life’ service for Ken Burmeister is scheduled for May 17 at the Community Bible Church. The service will start at 10 a.m. at CBC, located at 2477 Loop 1604 East.

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

Ken Burmeister helped raise the profile of college basketball in San Antonio with coaching stints at UTSA, Trinity and Incarnate Word. — Photo, The JB Replay

“It should be a morning of love and laughter,” Brenda Burmeister, the coach’s widow, said in a text.

Burmeister, a fixture in the San Antonio basketball community, died at age 72 last May after a bout with cancer. The family didn’t have a funeral for him last year because of the pandemic.

In San Antonio, Burmeister coached at UTSA, Trinity University and at the University of the Incarnate Word.

At UTSA, the Roadrunners won the Trans America Athletic Conference postseason title en route to their first NCAA tournament in 1988. It was transformative moment for the program, which was in only its seventh season.

He also helped elevate college basketball in the city by participating in the “Mayor’s Challenge Cup” games against St. Mary’s University.

The UTSA-St. Mary’s games were held annually downtown at HemisFair Arena against the Rattlers, who were coached at the time by Burmeister’s friend, the legendary Buddy Meyer.

San Antonio won national recognition again in 1989 when Meyer and the Rattlers captured the NAIA championship in Kansas City.

Years later, Burmeister got a second chance on his coaching career. After departing a job at Division I Loyola-Chicago in 1998, he was hired the next season at Division III Trinity, and he spent one season with the Tigers.

In 2006, he took a job as the head coach at the University of the Incarnate Word. Burmeister responded by leading the Cardinals through a transition from Division II into Division I, winning games at Princeton, Nebraska and St. John’s along the way.

He worked at UIW through the 2017-18 season.