Richard Tatro said he should have suspected something was happening.
His wife and daughter wanted to go along to the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association All-Star game recently in Lees Summit, and he was asked to take tickets to make sure he would be there.
Tatro, who has coached football for 40 years, received the Dave Bassore Man of the Year award for being the top assistant coach in Kansas for the 2012 football season. The award is presented each year at the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association All-Star game.
A resident of the Piper area in Kansas City, Kan., Tatro currently is the assistant football coach at St. James Academy, Lenexa. After retiring from the Piper school district, where he was football coach five years, followed by five years as athletic director, Tatro joined the coaching staff of Tom Radke, who he had formerly hired to coach Piper football. Radke invited him to be the assistant coach at St. James, and Tatro is in his third year there.
“I was totally surprised,” Tatro said about the award recently. “It really meant a lot, a vote of the Coaches Association.”
Radke, who nominated Tatro for the award, said his longevity as a coach was probably the biggest factor in the award. But there was also Tatro’s willingness to come out of retirement to help coach at St. James, he said. Tatro helped bring St. James into the winning column with a 7-2 season this past year and was a “lifesaver,” Radke said.
Radke noted, with a laugh, the way things turned out with their jobs. “Coach Tatro became athletic director at Piper, and hired me as head football coach, then he retired, and I got the head coaching job at St. James, and so I got to hire him.”
Tatro has had winning records at many different schools throughout the years, and has been named coach of the year several times in his career.
Radke said he respects Tatro’s work, and “his coaching brain is amazing. We work very well together.”
Tatro has a great rapport with the students, Radke said.
“The kids still love him, it’s amazing to see him work with them,” he said.
“He deserves the award for all the things he did to turn the St. James program around the past few years,” Radke said. “A large part is due to him, that’s why he earned that award.”