Friends of Basketball


Frank Santarelli

Year Inducted: 1985

Category: Friends of Basketball

Schools / Organizations: Riverton High School

Biography: Frank Santarelli of Riverton had no formal basketball coaching training, yet his teams won 315 games from 1935-57. In the 18 seasons there was only one losing season. His Hawk teams won four IHSA districts, four Sangamon County Championships, one IHSA regional and was undefeated during one regular season. Santarelli became the principal at Riverton in 1947 and joined the state office of the Superintendent of the Public Instruction as director of Title V. He retired in 1970. Three years later he organized a basketball program for third, fourth and fifth grades in the Riverton School District. He enjoyed that program and it proved a definite benefit in the Riverton basketball success. He stressed fundamentals and discipline, just as he did when he was a head coach.  A former player described his coach’s influence in this manner: “ . . .I had the utmost respect for him, not just as a coach but as a teacher and a leader.  When you went through a year with Frank Santarelli, you knew right from wrong . . . . he taught more than basketball, he specialized in the game of life.”  Sadly, Frank died in 1984 at the age of 72 and was unable to enjoy his induction into the IBCA Hall of Fame.