‘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.

UIW will upgrade the McDermott Center with a new floor

Incarnate Word coach Carson Cunningham expresses his frustration after a call during a 90-64 loss to Northern Colorado on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018.

UIW men’s basketball coach Carson Cunningham. –Photo by Joe Alexander.

The University of the Incarnate Word announced Tuesday that it will upgrade the Alice P. McDermott Convocation Center with the installation of a new floor, thanks to a partnership with CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital System.

To honor the generosity of the donor, the basketball/volleyball court will carry the organization’s namesake (CHRISTUS Court), with branding on the surface, according to a news release from the UIW athletics department.

The project will include installation of a 12,000 square-foot floor with better grade maple and will include a new subfloor system. The new court will also have an enhanced design for a more aesthetically pleasing look.

Installation is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2019, according to the release.

UIW men’s basketball coach Carson Cunningham called it a “fantastic” development for the school’s student-athletes.

“For a student-athlete’s body, the benefits of a state-of-the-art floor, one with excellent resilience, cushioning and durability, are plentiful and long lasting,” Cunningham said.

The cost of the project wasn’t made public due to a confidentiality agreement between the private entities, a spokesman said. But the release said it was the fourth-largest donation in UIW athletics history.

UIW athletics teams compete in NCAA Division I as a member of the Southland Conference.

LSU wins 91-50, as free throw streak for UIW’s Peevy ends at 24

Christian Peevy’s streak of consecutive free throws made ended at 24 on Sunday afternoon in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Peevy, a University of the Incarnate Word sophomore from Chicago, hit his first three in a game against the LSU Tigers.

But he finally missed on the second of two with 9:52 left in the opening half during LSU’s 91-50 victory in the Maravich Assembly Center.

The Peevy streak included: 14 straight at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Nov. 25. Seven (in seven attempts) at home last week against Trinity. Finally, three at LSU.

After his lone miss, he finished with six straight, giving him 9 of 10 for the game and 59 of 65 for the season (90.7 percent).

Before the game at LSU, Peevy vowed to try to break the NCAA record for consecutive makes held by UIW assistant coach Darnell Archey.

Archey made 85 in a row over parts of three seasons at Butler from 2001-03.

Cunningham wins first game as UIW basketball coach

The University of the Incarnate Word held St. Francis, Illinois, to 28.6 percent shooting Friday night en route to a 63-49 victory, the first for Carson Cunningham as coach of the Cardinals.

With the win, UIW improved to 1-1 on the season and earned a measure of redemption after a 50-point loss at Texas Tech on Tuesday.

St. Francis remained at 0-0 as it played the game as an exhibition.

“It was nice to see the guys really working on defense,” said Cunningham, who was in his UIW home debut. “I thought they were really trying to execute the game plan on defense.

“Give St. Francis a ton of credit. They played great, and they played really hard. It’s nice to get the win. I think it’s also going to help us get better.”

UIW plays as an NCAA Division I program in the Southland Conference, and so St. Francis, an NAIA team based in Joliet, Illinois, entered the Convocation Center looking for an upset.

In the second half, the Saints put together a 15-4 run to take a 39-38 lead with 11:52 remaining. Undaunted, UIW scored 13 of the next 15 points to regain control.

After a fast break dunk by freshman guard Morgan Taylor, UIW was up, 51-41. St. Francis never got closer than eight the rest of the way.

Individual leaders

Senior forward Charles Brown III came off the bench to score 14 points to lead the Cardinals, who shot 60 percent rrom the floor.

In addition, Taylor scored 11 in a team-high 34 minutes. Sophomore forward Christian Peevy added 10, all in the first half.

St. Francis point guard Terrion Howard, only 5-feet-4, led the Fighting Saints with 20.

First half

Peevy came off the bench for 10 points, six rebounds and two assists in the half.


The game marked the home debut for Cunningham, who was hired last March to replace Ken Burmeister. Burmeister stepped down after 12 seasons as coach.

Cunningham, who worked the past five seasons at Carroll College in Montana, started four freshmen and a sophomore. He has eight freshman on his 15-man roster.

Moment of silence

A moment of silence was observed before the game for the late Simi Socks, a former UIW player who died last June.

Socks, a power forward, played in 80 games for the Cardinals over the past three seasons.

Near the end of the first half (see video above), St. Francis defenders cut off Peevy on the baseline. But Peevy dished between two men to freshman Bryce Davis for a layup.

San Antonio to host the NCAA Men’s Final Four in 2025

The NCAA Men’s Final Four is returning to San Antonio for the fifth time.

Officials on Monday announced that college basketball’s showcase event will be played at the Alamodome in 2025, with San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg calling it, “Great news.”

Nirenberg said in a news release that the decision confirms that San Antonio “is one of the best cities in the nation — if not the best” to host the tournament.

In thanking local organizers, the mayor added, “Once again, all that makes San Antonio special will be showcased across the country and around the world.”

San Antonio previously staged the Final Four in 1998, 2004, 2008 and in April of this year.

Host institutions will be NCAA Division I members UTSA and the University of the Incarnate Word.

The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee selected Houston for 2023, Phoenix (2024), San Antonio (2025) and Indianapolis (2026).

According to ncaa.com, the announcement capped a year-long process that included site visits to each of seven finalist cities and in-person presentations during the committee’s annual summer meeting, which took place last week in Boston.

The other finalists were Detroit, Los Angeles and North Texas.

Final Four sites

2019 — Minneapolis
2020 — Atlanta
2021 — Indianapolis
2022 — New Orleans
2023 — Houston
2024 — Phoenix/Glendale
2025 — San Antonio
2026 — Indianapolis


Lisa Campos, UTSA vice president for athletics:

“We’re so excited that the Final Four is returning to San Antonio. I’d like to thank the NCAA for selecting our great city as the location for the 2025 Final Four and I also want to congratulate everyone who worked so hard behind the scenes on the bid and presentation. Earlier this year, the San Antonio Local Organizing Committee, which includes UTSA, put in an incredible amount of hard work to host one of the best Final Fours ever held. We look forward to making the 2025 event even better.”


In April, San Antonio hosted a Final Four consisting of the University of Michigan, Loyola (Chicago), Villanova and Kansas.

A crowd of 68,257 watched in the semifinals as Michigan defeated Loyola 69-57 and Villanova downed Kansas, 95-79. Another 67,831 turned out for Villanova’s 79-62 victory over Michigan in the finals.

UIW steps up

The announcement proved to be a big moment for the University of the Incarnate Word, whose athletics program has stepped up in recent years from NCAA Division II to Division I.

After a four-year transition, UIW of the Southland Conference became fully eligible for the Division I men’s basketball tournament for the first time in 2017-18. When the news surfaced, the Cardinals tweeted it out to their supporters.

New Orleans’ late surge knocks out Incarnate Word, 68-58

UIW center Konstantin Kulikov, with hands up, gets position under the basket to block a shot in the first half against the New Orleans Privateers.

Fans at the University of the Incarnate Word saw flashes of promising play from the home team Saturday afternoon.

The slumping Cardinals erased an eight-point deficit in the first half and made it a two-point game at intermission.

In the second half, a rally sparked by the presence of 7-foot center Konstantin Kulikov allowed UIW to come from six down to take a one-point lead on the New Orleans Privateers.

But in the end, the defending Southland Conference champions had too much athleticism and showed too much poise, winning 68-58 to hand the Cardinals their 11th straight loss.

“We just don’t have enough firepower, offensively,” UIW coach Ken Burmeister said.
“We go into lulls. I think in the first half we went eight straight times (scoreless).

“In the second half, we go seven straight times, (and) we didn’t get any baskets,” he said. “You got to get baskets. You know, the kids fought on defense. Rebounding was OK. New Orleans is a good team.

“You know, they got good shooters. Good athleticism. So, we just got to get that first one and get going.”

While UIW had Kulikov to defend and rebound in the paint, New Orleans (11-10, 8-2 in the SLC) unleashed significant talent across the front line and even in some of their big men off the bench.

In fact, reserve forward Macur Puou provided the difference for the Privateers against the Cardinals (5-14, 0-9) as he hit 8 of 9 shots from the field for 18 points.

Starting forward Travin Thibodeaux scored 14 and guard Troy Green nine.

Guard Cody Graham scored 11 and Sam Burmeister 10 for the Cardinals, who have been winless since Dec. 16.

But in Kulikov, from Oryol, Russia, UIW can see a glimmer of hope for the future.

He enjoyed one of his better games with six points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots in 29 minutes.

When Kulikov was on the floor, it changed the dynamic of the action. New Orleans had trouble getting to the basket.

Regardless, the junior transfer from San Jacinto College expressed some frustration at the lack of consistency.

“Most of the games we’ve had this type of thing, where we just play for 30 or 35 minutes and the last five minutes, we just let a team take the lead,” he said. “We just need to work on that in practices. I think it will be fine.”

Kulikov’s first few months at UIW have been chaotic.

The junior transfer from San Jacinto started practice, only to be told just before the start of the season that his eligibility was under review at the NCAA office.

He wasn’t cleared to play until a Dec. 22 game at Florida.

“I feel much better now,” he said. “Because when I came back after my eligibility status, I felt out of shape. Now I feel like I’m back in shape and I can play with these guys.”

A second-half, three-pointer by Shawn Johnson sparked cheers from the crowd and a demonstration from Speedo-clad members of the UIW swim team.

UIW point guard says he’s out for the season

Visiting Lamar rolled to a 90-69 victory Wednesday night at Incarnate Word, but it couldn’t stop this play as forward Charles Brown III dishes to teammate Simi Socks for the basket.

Incarnate Word point guard Jalin Hart said Wednesday night that he is academically ineligible to play basketball for the remainder of the season after falling short of the required credit hours in the classroom last fall.

Incarnate Word coach Ken Burmeister (left) and point guard Jalin Hart pose together after a practice in November.

UIW coach Ken Burmeister said he couldn’t comment on why Hart has not played in the last four games, noting, “You’ll have to talk to Jalin.”

In the wake of Lamar’s 90-69 Southland Conference victory over UIW at the Convocation Center, Hart expressed regret about the situation.

He said it hurts coming to the games knowing that he can’t suit up.

Signs of trouble for the former Houston area prep standout first came to light on Jan. 6.

He said that he expected to be sidelined for two weeks, “taking care of some business” related to his academics.

At the time, he expressed confidence that he would be able to resolve the situation and re-join the team.

Since then, circumstances have changed.

Speaking after the Lamar-UIW game on the UIW campus, Hart ruled out the possibility that he could return.

He explained that he initially looked into the possibility of taking a class in between the fall and spring semesters at SMU in Dallas.

But he discovered that it couldn’t be paid for by his UIW scholarship.

“I was supposed to take a class in Dallas, but I couldn’t afford it, so that makes me ineligible for the rest of the year,” Hart said. “It hurts me to see my teammates. I know they need me. But, that’s what happens.”

Hart said he plans to continue to attend school at UIW and hopes to graduate by December.

UIW senior guard Sam Burmeister said “it’s a tough loss” for the team.

“But we have a philosophy that the next man steps up,” said Burmeister, the coach’s son. “We have Cody Graham. He’s a freshman, and he’s stepped up pretty good so far. I hope he will continue to do that.

“That’s all we can do. We can’t dwell on it. We have to keep moving forward and think positive.”

With a powerful inside presence, Lamar (11-8, 3-3) shot 54.3 percent in the first half and 49.2 percent for the game in a run-away road victory.

UIW (5-11, 0-6) trailed by 13 at intermission and pulled to within 10 twice in the first five minutes of the second half.

But Lamar, with forwards Colton Weisbrod and Josh Nzeakor dominating down low, never allowed the home team to get any closer.

Weisbrod finished with 26 points and nine rebounds. Nzeakor registered a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Guard Nick Garth hit four threes en route to 25 points off the bench for Lamar, which broke a three-game losing streak.

For UIW, forward Charles Brown III scored 26 on 9 of 15 shooting. Freshman guard Keaton Hervey poured in career-high 20 off the bench.

Starting at point guard for the fourth straight game, Graham registered six points, three rebounds and three assists for the Cardinals.

UIW plays at New Orleans on Saturday night.

Lamar forward Josh Nzeakor makes a quick move for a dunk in the first half.