Jim Sartoris has heard countless stories and tall tales about his
father Henry over the years.
While most of the stories involving the all-around athlete are
true, some of the recollections might have been stretched a bit with
the passage of time.
"I think one of my favorite stories about my dad has to do with
running," Jim Sartoris said.
"Legend has it that he once ran 10.1 [seconds] in the 100, in
tennis shoes, on a dirt track.
"I don't know how true that is, but there are some great stories
about my dad."
The stories about Henry Sartoris help paint a picture of a man who
was more than just a great athlete. They also serve to keep alive the
memory of an individual who touched many lives and influenced those
in, and out, of the sports realm.
Henry, a longtime resident and 30-year veteran of the Burbank
Police Department, died April 24. He was 89.
Active in the local community, Henry served on the Board of
Directors of the Burbank City Employees Federal Credit Union for 28
years and was also a lifetime member of the Elks Lodge.
After working at Paramount Studios during World War II, Henry
joined the Burbank Police Department in 1945, serving as a patrolman
and detective until he retired in 1975.
Although he found success in many aspects of his life -- including
a 64-year marriage to wife Margaret -- Henry has left a lasting
legacy with his accomplishments as an athlete and coach.
"I think legacy is the perfect word to describe what my dad has
left," said Jim, Glendale Community College athletic director and
former Vaquero football player and coach.
"In our family, our interest in sports is because of my father,
and he is the one who got me interested in sports and coaching."
"I think more of my style and personality as a coach comes from my
father. He cared about helping athletes get the most out of sports,
and was more interested in helping players get better."
Henry's interest and success in sports began when he was a child
growing up in Colorado. He developed into fine basketball player and
was an all-state football player.
In 1935, Henry made his way to Southern California to accept a
scholarship offer to play football for USC and popular Coach Howard
However, his athletic career took a strange twist when he came to
"When he arrived at USC, it just happened that Howard Jones wasn't
there at the time," Jim said.
"So he had some friends who were going to Loyola University (now
Loyola Marymount University), and they invited him to come and spend
some time at their college."
Jim said Henry liked the campus and the atmosphere at Loyola so
much, he decided to stay and play for the college.
"At that time, the colleges in [California] were very good
football schools, and they were very successful," Jim said.
Henry -- who also played basketball in college -- competed for
Coach Tom Lieb, who cut his football teeth with Knute Rockne, who was
a legend at Notre Dame.
From 1934-37, he starred as a fullback, wearing Nos. 9 and 36
during his career.
His best season came in 1936, when Loyola went 6-3, with their
only losses coming against St. Mary's (19-7), Santa Clara (13-6) and
University of San Francisco (17-14).
In 1935, the team went 6-5 and had wins against Arizona (13-6),
Texas Tech (16-0) and what is now Arizona State (7-3). Loyola barely
lost to UCLA, 14-6, and fell to Michigan State, 27-0.
With his college career finished, Henry graduated in 1938 with a
bachelor's degree in history.
"He didn't pursue his football career after college, because there
just wasn't that much opportunity for athletes back then," Jim said.
Henry continued to be active in sports most of his life, playing
fast-pitch softball for years in the Burbank Park, Recreation and
Community Services leagues and coaching in the Police Protective
League and other youth organizations.
He also enjoyed following Jim's athletic endeavors, as his son
became a successful athlete and coach himself.
"Along with my mother, my father was always there to support me
and help me when I was a player," Jim said.
"And when I became a coach, I don't think he missed any of my
games. He was always there."
Under his father's watchful eye, Jim became an All-American
quarterback at GCC in 1963, and competed at the University of
Washington in 1964 and 1966.
He returned to GCC in 1967 as an assistant coach and became head
coach in 1972, piloting the Vaqueros for 17 years until 1988,
compiling a 111-63 record. He led Glendale to seven bowl games and
eight conference tiles. He became men's athletic director in 1985.
Henry's legacy continued with granddaughter, Lisa, who was a
multi-sport standout at Burroughs High in the 1990s. Lisa played
women's volleyball and ran track at GCC before moving on to Westmont
College in Santa Barbara, where she still holds the school record in
"It's nice to continue that family tradition in sports that my
father started," said Jim, whose sons Nick and Steve are also fine
"And we all know it all started with him."