Joe Tremarello moved to Alaska in the summer of 1950. His father was in the Army and was stationed at Ladd Field.
Joe was on the Fairbanks High School varsity basketball team for the next three years. By his junior year, he was described as one of the “shortest starting forwards in the league” and a “sharp-shooter.” That year the Malemutes lost the Western Alaska title to Anchorage by one point. “Joey” was named to the 1952 Western Alaska Class A All-Tournament team.
In the 1952-53 season, the Malemutes beat Anchorage twice in the double elimination tournament for the Western Alaska title and swept Douglas High School in three games for the Territorial Class A championship. Joe was captain of the team and won the First National Bank of Anchorage Sportsmanship trophy as well as the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Sportsmanship trophy.
He attended Eastern Washington College of Education for one year and then returned to Alaska and enrolled at the University of Alaska in 1954. He was a starter on the UA basketball team for 4 years and was captain of the team that won its first intercollegiate game on December 23, 1957, beating EWCE by one point, 71-70.
Joe graduated from the university in 1958 with a Bachelor of Education degree.
For the next two years he taught sixth grade and coached the UA junior varsity basketball team.
In 1960, he began teaching and coaching at Lathrop High School. Besides a full teaching load, initially he coached track and the junior varsity and varsity basketball teams. He led the Lathrop Malemutes to a state championship in 1964 and state runner-up in 1966. He compiled a 141-31 record in his seven years as coach at Lathrop. He continued to teach at Lathrop until 1970.
He earned a Master of Education degree from UAF in 1968.
Joe served as director of housing at UAF from 1970-1972. From the fall of 1972 until his retirement from the school district in 1984, he was teacher and later principal at the Fairbanks Alternative High School. All during this time he sponsored and played on a successful city league basketball team.
He was a member of the coaching staff of the UAF women’s basketball team for 7 years and served as head coach for four years. After 6 wins and 21 losses the previous year, his 1991-92 team finished with 18 wins and 6 losses, the best record in UAF women’s basketball history up to that time. At the end of the season he was named NCAA Continental Divide Conference Coach of the Year. From 1995-2012, Joe was associated with the Lathrop High School boys’ basketball team, initially as “official” assistant coach, and, for the majority of the time, as a very dedicated volunteer assistant coach.
Joe was awarded the UAF Alumni Achievement Award in 1991 and was inducted into the UAF Athletic Hall of Fame as a member of the first class. He also was awarded the Fairbanks North Star Borough Recognition of Excellence in 1996.
Joe Tremarello resided in Fairbanks for nearly 63 years with a successful career as an elementary and high school teacher and coach, high school principal, UAF Student Housing Director, UAF women’s basketball coach, businessman and sponsor of city and youth sports. His dedication to Lathrop High School basketball is legendary.
Coach T’s Celebration of Life was held September 23, 2012 at the Davis Concert Hall on the UAF Campus.