Former West Coach Hable Passes Away

Hable, Burton Frederick
MADISON Burton Frederick Hable, age 72, passed away at home on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2004, after battling cancer. He was born on March 1, 1931, in Bloomer, to Ed and Anona (Peterson) Hable. Burton grew up on the family farm in Bloomer with his parents, his brother Bob, and his much loved Aunt Mary Hable and Uncle Benny Hable. Burton left Bloomer in 1949 to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison on a football scholarship. He married his childhood sweetheart, Bernetta Stoffel on Aug. 21, 1952. Burton was a member of the 1952 Wisconsin Rose Bowl team. He graduated from the university in 1953, and taught and coached at Madison West High School for almost 40 years before retiring in 1992. Coach Hable coached football at West High School for 40 years, achieving 199 wins as head coach. He was inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1996, and the Madison Sports Hall of Fame in 1997. He coached hockey at West in the 1960s and 1970s, working to make high school hockey a prominent sport in the state of Wisconsin. He started the “Madison Invitational Hockey Tournament” which became the State High School Hockey Tournament, now run by the WIAA. Burton’s passions in life were his family, high school football, the Wisconsin Badgers, and the Chicago Cubs. He was honored to be a long-time member of the Optimist Club of West Madison. Burton is survived by his wife of 51 years, Bernetta; and his brother, Bob (Ruth) Hable of Las Vegas, Nev. He is also survived by his seven children; and 16 grandchildren, Mary Kathryn (Garry) Acker of Eureka, Mo., and Chuck, Betsy and Megan, Martha (Paul) Pratt of Powell, Ohio, and Sara, Amy and Brian, and Susan (Scott) Cole of Racine, Laura and Andrew, Ben (Laurie) Hable of Ankeny, Iowa, and Burton, Robbie and Allison, Fred (Renee) Hable of Stoughton, Christin (Dan) Filo of Schererville, Ind., and Alex and Austin, and Chuck (Teri) Hable of Oshkosh, and Adam, Jack and Britt. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 16, 2004, at ST. MARIA GORETTI CATHOLIC CHURCH, 5313 Flad Ave., with Monsignor Michael Burke officiating. Burial will be at North Catholic Cemetery in Bloomer. Visitation will be held from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2004, at ST. MARIA GORETTI CATHOLIC CHURCH, and also from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service at the church on Monday. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Burton’s name may be made to the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 8, Poynette, WI 53955. Joyce-Ryan Funeral Home 5701 Odana Road (608) 274-1000
The Capital Times Friday, February 13, 2004 By Dennis Semrau The Capital Times
Burt Hable often said his most impressive accomplishment during 35-plus years as head football coach at Madison West High School was not winning 199 games. Nor was it the state championship or 10 Big Eight Conference titles the Regents won during his tenure.
“Wins and losses are quickly forgotten,” Hable said in a conversation a year ago after he wrote a letter to The Capital Times on the dangers of specialization in high school athletics. “What’s most important are the relationships you make. The game is for the kids.”
Those words rang true when Hable’s youngest son, Chuck, called this morning to say that his father had passed away early today following a battle with cancer.
Hable, 72, died at his home, surrounded by his wife, Bernetta, and children on Feb. 12, 2004.
“Dad was a die-hard Cubs fan. When Moises Alou had that ball ripped out of his glove in the playoffs last fall, he was crushed,” Chuck Hable said.
“But he was also a big fan of high school athletics. He felt local schools should recruit local talent.”
Otto Breitenbach, a former athletic director and football coach at Madison La Follette High School, said Hable was a “true competitor.”
hableBut Hable, who taught history and coached at West from 1953-93, also cherished the positive impact he had on hundreds of young people.
“Burt contributed much to the youth of our community,” Breitenbach said. “He really stood out as a football coach. But he remembered all the intangibles that were more important than winning.”
Hable often said the most important five minutes of a college or pro football game were when they announced where the players were from.
“He took a lot of pride in Wisconsin athletes and how they represented the state,” Chuck Hable said.
The family has asked that to honor Hable — who also coached wrestling, hockey and girls softball during his career — donations be made to the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association in lieu of flowers for a memorial that will be established in his name.
Visitation and funeral arrangements are pending.
Hable led West to the WIAA Division 1 state football title in 1977 and a runner-up finish in 1981. He compiled a record of 199-113-5, retiring after the third game of the 1993 season for health reasons.
“He leaves quite a legacy,” Hall of Fame coach and administrator John Olson said. “Burt set a standard of excellence, especially in football, and carried on a great tradition at West.”
A native of Bloomer, Hable was an all-state football player and all-conference basketball player before heading to the University of Wisconsin. He was a member of the Badgers’ 1953 Rose Bowl team and led the Big Ten Conference in interceptions during the 1952 season.
The Optimist Club of West Madison and a group of West High School alumni established the Burt Hable Scholarship Fund for West High students in 1994.
Hable was inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Madison Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.
“He did everything he could to help kids,” Olson said. “He never gave anything less than his best. is operated by Capital Newspapers, publishers of the Wisconsin State Journal, The Capital Times, Agri-View and Apartment Showcase. All contents Copyright ©, Capital Newspapers. All rights reserved.
Below is another article that featured Mr.Hable that was featured in the Capital Times on February 1, 1996.

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