WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Where Are They Now? Santos Jimenez

2012-11-12T19:00:00Z 2014-05-15T22:42:15Z Where Are They Now? Santos JimenezMike Nieto mike.nieto@nwi.com, (219) 933-3232 nwitimes.com
November 12, 2012 7:00 pm  • 

Santos "Saint" Jimenez jokes that he has lived a "sainted" life.

The 1959 E.C. Washington grad was a three-year starter for Johnny Baratto, then went on to play at Creighton University for Johnny "Red" McManus.

From there, Jimenez went on to a successful coaching career, which included a 23-year run as the head boys basketball coach at Kenosha Tremper from 1976-1998.

He then took over as boys basketball coach at alternative school, Reuther High School.

He went on to coach at several other schools before retirement and lives in Longmont, Colo. Jimenez had a career in education. Not bad for someone who was not born in the United States and did not come to the U.S. until he was 8 years old. He was born in Reynosa, in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas.

"They used to call me 'The Reynosa Kid' in the headlines in (TheĀ  Times)," Jimenez said. "I loved it. Sure, I had the opportunity to play basketball and get an education, and I am very fortunate for that opportunity."

He also loved growing up in Indiana Harbor and playing for the legendary Johnny Baratto, remembering when the coach told him he made the Senators' varsity team.

"I walked into that big gym and it was new then," Jimenez said. "I asked Coach Baratto if he was going to have any (junior varsity) tournament in here. He said to me, 'You plan on being on JV?' That's when I knew I made the varsity as a sophomore."

In Jimenez's three years on the varsity, the Senators were 61-14 with two sectional and regional titles. The 1959 team lost to Lafayette Jeff in the Lafayette Semistate.

"Crispus Attucks won state and we beat them earlier in the year," Jimenez said. "We had a great team with some big-name players."

The next year Washington won state. Jimenez's teammates included seniors Pete Auksel (North Carolina State) and John Dow (Indiana State). The juniors who led the Senators to the state title included 1960 Trester Award winner Bobby Cantrell (Michigan), Ron Divjak (Northwestern), Phillip Dawkins (Purdue), Darryl Williams (Indiana State) and Jim Bakos (Creighton).

"I used to say they got rid of me, then they won (state)," Jimenez said. "They were a great group of guys, and I remember writing them and congratulating them."

He said he chose Creighton because he just liked the feel and it was different.

"When Coach Baratto told me about Creighton and it was in Omaha, I figured I'd go," Jimenez said.

"I was a city kid and I thought about the wild west and cowboys and Indians. I am glad I went."

At Creighton, he was part of the Bluejays' 1962 NCAA tournament team. He was also a teammate of Paul Silas. He went on to teach and eventually landed at Tremper.

"I loved it there," Jimenez said. "It was new school and we had a chance to build a program."

He and his wife Sharon have been married for 44 years and have three children and five grandchildren.

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