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PCC Swim Coaching Legend Ron Ballatore Remembered

PCC Swim Coaching Legend Ron Ballatore Remembered image

Ron Ballatore, head coach of a Pasadena City College record five state champion men's swimming teams, passed away Friday after a long bout with bone cancer. Ballatorre, 71, died at a hospital in Gainsville, Fla., where he resided.

Ironically, Ballatore's passing occurred on the first day of the CCCAA State Swimming and Diving Championships, an event in which he earned his early fame as a PCC coach. 

A member with a bronze bust of his likeness in the prestigious PCC Court of Champions, Ballatore coached the Lancers to state team titles in 1971, 1972, 1976, 1977, and 1978. He coached recent PCC Sports Hall of Famers in All-American swimmers Jack Tingley, Eric Marks, and Glen Aiken. In his time at PCC (1967-1978), he produced 10 conference team titles and seven Southern California team champion squads.

Nicknamed "Sticks," Ballatore later guided UCLA to the 1982 NCAA championship. He served on the coaching staff at five Olympics, including for the U.S. national team in 1984 and 1988. He also coached Peru in 1968, Ecuador in 1972, and Israel in 1976.

He was a three-time, Pacific 10 Conference Coach of the Year at UCLA, where he coached for 16 seasons. In 2009, he was inducted into the American Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame and was named to the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame earlier this month. Ballatore also served as head coach at Brown University and at the University of Florida.

He coached 28 Olympians, including gold medalists Brian Goodell and Tom Jager. Besides a slew of California Community College state and national records, Ballatore's swimmers produced 11 American and NCAA records. Jager would set the 50-meter freestyle world record.

Ballatore is survived by his wife Ann, daughters Lisa, Jenne, and Angelina, and sons Ronald and Brent.

[Photo of Ron Ballatore, PCC archives.]

Release Date: 04/28/12
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
Phone: 626-585-7018, Email: rmlewis@pasadena.edu