RIP, Sticks: a Video Tribute to Coach Ballatore

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 7

April 28th, 2012 News

The video above comes from swimmer and filmmaker Dan Kutler, a 1996 Olympian for Israel who once swam for the legendary coach Ron “Sticks” Ballatore.

Ballatore passed away last night at the age of 71 after a long battle with bone cancer.

He was a 5-time Olympic coach for three different countries (including the 1984 and 1988 games for the United States), and among others coached Tom Jager and Brian Goodell. He coached for 16 years at UCLA, leading them all the way up to the program’s demise in 1994, at which time he took over at the University of Florida, where he became a fixture in Gainesville even after his retirement.

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Jeanne Hallock Craig

I was a member of the 1964 US Olympic swim team, swam for Rosemead Swim Club and City of Commerce Swim club under Don Gambril. I remember when Sticks came to be the assistent coach under Gambril, he was an amazing person, an amazing coach…..a true man among men. We had a great time with him. This is a great tribute to him. May he rest in peace.
Thanks Sticks for all you gave us……

From all in the swimming community, there will never be another…. The man, the myth the legend…. Ron “Stix” Ballatore. RIP my friend.

Greg Fink

Ron was a unique person. He was an inspiring coach and although he was not my coach, I had a lot of respect for him. Ron was one of those unique coached who “got” more out of his swimmers than other coaches. He will be missed.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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