Jack Rentz graduated from Stillwater High School in 1941, where he excelled in soccer, basketball, and baseball, leading his teams to several championships under the leadership of Coach Walter Reid. He earned an athletic scholarship to Syracuse University to play basketball.
His college career was interrupted by his enlistment in the
U.S. Army Air Corps from 1943 to 1946. He was a pilot,
participating in the China-Burma-India theaters, earning two
Bronze Stars and the WW II Victory Medal, until his discharge as
a first lieutenant.
Following his service, Jack returned to his education, attending Siena and earning his degree from Ithaca College, while continuing to play basketball. He later received his masters from Siena and was a doctoral candidate at Springfield College.
Jack joined the staff of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake CSD in 1949 as a physical education teacher. In 1957 he became chairman of the department and Athletic Director, when Walt Reid moved up to superintendent of schools. During his career, Jack coached four different sports, including soccer for 17 years and baseball for 18, earning league titles and a sectional title in each.
As the athletic director, Jack was instrumental in hiring Murray O’Neil to begin football, wrestling and track. He began the summer recreation program, and managed the district’s tremendous PE and athletic growth from a one building school with one-room school houses, through the expansion to four elementary buildings, a junior high and a new high school. One of his favorite accomplishments was the planning of the indoor and outdoor PE and athletic facilities at the high school, including the swimming pool and new fields at the high school.
Through the 1950’s and 60’s Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, under Jack Rentz’s leadership, was widely recognized as having the top PE and athletic program in the entire area. He was incredibly proud of the PE staff and the other teachers that were willing to coach, the training given to coaches, and the facilities of the district.
In 1970, Jack left BH-BL to become an Associate in the New York State Education Department, where he continued to work with PE and athletic programs around the state. Following his retirement in 1983, he remained involved, teaching coaching certification courses at Adirondack Community College for several years. Throughout the years, Jack continued to closely follow the fortunes of the Burnt Hills teams.
Upon his death in 2009, Jack was survived by his wife of 63 years Florence, his six children, all BH-BL grads, 10 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.