• Ray heitzmann
  • 78 years old
  • Lived in Havertown
  • His goal was to help athletes succeed in real life, too.

More memorials

Ray Heitzmann was no basketball star, but he believed from an early age that sports were the perfect path to success.

So he spent most of his life teaching and coaching people on things that sport taught him.

Confidence. Perseverance. Sportsmanship. Humor.

“He had a deep passion and loyalty for the things he felt deeply – sports, academics, family and friends,” his son, Rick, wrote in a tribute.

An author of over 50 books with a doctorate. in learning and teaching, Dr Heitzmann preferred to be called a “coach”. And the trainer he did. For most of his life he coached basketball at almost every level – from college teams to fun leagues – and spread his message of personal growth and opportunity through the sport.

After short stops as a high school teacher and trainer in Chicago and Highland Falls, NY, he settled for a 40-year run in Villanova as a teacher, trainer, academic advisor and all-round booster for the Wildcats. He retired several times, unable to quit the first time in 2010, and the directors smiled upon his return.

Dr Heitzmann, 78, died Sunday July 11 of complications from the coronavirus in Wellington at Hershey’s Mill.

Born in Weehawken, NJ, to Mary and William Heitzmann, William Ray Heitzmann graduated from Power Memorial High School in New York a few years before the great basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Knowing that bad knees and a 5-foot-9 stature weren’t optimal for a basketball player, Dr. Heitzmann got a college scholarship and graduated in education from Villanova in 1964.

He graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in teaching in 1966 through another scholarship, and then received his doctorate. in Delaware in 1974. He met another teacher, Kathy Esnes, while in Highland Falls. They married and moved to Havertown when he returned to Villanova in 1969 for a teaching post.

The couple had son Rick and daughter Mary, and Dr Heitzmann adored their accomplishments. He and his wife divorced after 25 years but remained friends.

During this four-decade run to ‘Nova, wrote Rick Heitzmann, his father spent much of his time “teaching, coaching, mentoring and laughing in community.” He led the graduate program by day and urged players at night to practice more shooting on goal. He was especially looking for the young people who needed him the most. A former gamer called Dr Heitzmann the father he never had.

He’s coached countless players, including NFL greats Howie Long and Brian Westbrook, in Villanova’s intramural programs, and he was there when the Wildcats won the 1985 National Men’s Basketball Championship. He was there. was also the first men’s basketball coach at Neumann University and was thrilled with his record of .500 for the first season.

A prolific writer on many topics – naval leadership, Jewish electoral behavior, opportunities in sport – he has published over 2,000 articles and was touted in 1988 by The Inquirer as a “Renaissance man” for the variety of his curriculum. vitae.

“He cared a lot about winning, but more about giving your best, playing the right way and showing integrity,” wrote Rick Heitzmann.

In addition to his children and his ex-wife, Dr. Heitzmann is survived by five grandchildren and a sister. Services must be later.

Contributions to the memory of Dr. Heitzmann can be made at Villanova University, Picotte Hall, 800 E. Lancaster Ave, Villanova, PA 19085 or online at www.villanova.edu/makeagift (click on “Memorial Gift” and write the Heitzmann scholarship in the line “indicate your gift”, then Dr. Ray Heitzmann in the line “gift in memory”.

– Gary Miles, [email protected]


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