The Obit For Joe Kretschmar

James Joseph Kretschmar

The Enterprise-Leader, October 21, 2009


PRAIRIE GROVE — James Joseph “Joe” Kretschmar Junior., 75, of Prairie Grove died Oct. 14, 2009, at his home. He was born May 2, 1934, in Jefferson City, Mo., to Jim and Ruby Barbour Kretschmar.

He was a member of the Viney Grove United Methodist Church where he was a Sunday School teacher. He attended high school in Jefferson City where he was a three-year letterman in basketball and baseball and All-State in 1952 in basketball.

He graduated in 1954 from Jefferson City Junior College where he was a two-year letterman in basketball, he then received a basketball scholarship to the University of Arkansas, where he lettered in basketball and baseball for two years. In 1956 he graduated with a bachelor’s degree and later went on to receive his Masters in Education in 1964.

After graduation from the University of Arkansas, he signed a professional baseball contract with the Kansas City Royals. He played in the West Texas league with the Pampa Oilers.

In the summer of 1954, Joe played professional baseball in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, Canada, for the Boston Red Sox.

In the summer of 1955, Joe played baseball in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and in the same summer, played shortstop in the first baseball Global World Series, representing Canada in Milwaukee, Wis.

His first coaching job was in Iberia, Mo., from 1956 until 1959. He coached high school boys and girls’ basketball and baseball. He coached in Centralia, Mo., from 1959 until 1962. He was the high school boy’s basketball coach and assistant football coach and taught ninth grade civics.

He returned to Fayetteville in September of 1962 as the junior high baseball, football and track coach at Hillcrest Junior High, now known as Ramay Junior High.

From 1965-1966 he was the assistant basketball and football coach at Fayetteville High School. From 1966 until 1992 he was the head men’s basketball coach and athletic director until his retirement.

He was assistant basketball coach for the West All-Star team in 1975, coach of the year in 1987, National Federation Interscholastic Coaches Association Coach of the Year in Arkansas 1987. His teams played in the State Tournaments 24 of the 26 years.
He was selected AAAA West coach of the year eight times. He won 10 conference championships, sent 38 athletes onto college on athletic scholarships and six were All-Americans. Five assistants who worked with Joe became head basketball coaches in Arkansas’ largest classification schools. He won 3 state championships and was inducted into the Arkansas High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 2007.

He coached the first high school basketball game on prime time television in Northwest Arkansas. He was the first coach to take teams to the “next level” of National High School Tournaments and the first active basketball coach to become athletic director and coach at a AAAA high school. In 1975, Joe was assistant coach to the University of Arkansas’ Coach Pat Foster in the Arkansas College Senior All-Star Game. In 26 years as Fayetteville High School head coach his record was 535-230 (over 20 wins/season).

He was a member of Phi Delta Kappa at the University of Arkansas, a lifetime member of the Razorback A Club and a lifetime member of the Arkansas Activities Association.

Survivors include his wife, Mary Frances Carnahan Kretschmar of the home; two sons, Mike Kretschmar and wife Pam of Minneapolis, Minn., and Jason Daugherty and fiance Mary Kate Chambliss of Fayetteville; two daughters, Kelly Kretschmar Smith of Farmington and Christi McKnight and husband TJ of Frisco, Texas; three grandchildren, Lauren Smith, Ryder McKnight, and Finley McKnight.

Services were held Oct. 17 at the C.A.C. Building Central United Methodist Fayetteville, with Randy Nix officiating. Burial will be in the Prairie Grove Cemetery.

Pallbearers were Bill Brunner, Tommy Lee, John Everett, Don Pinkley, Jack Gabler and Harold McDowell.

Honorary Pallbearers will be his former Fayetteville High Athletes.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Viney Grove United Methodist Church, 721 East Parks Street, Prairie Grove AR 72753.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Luginbuel Funeral Home of Prairie Grove, www.luginbuel.com.