Cover photo for Norman D. Ellenberger's Obituary
Norman D. Ellenberger Profile Photo
1932 Norman 2015

Norman D. Ellenberger

August 2, 1932 — November 15, 2015

Norman Dale Ellenberger, age 83, died exactly where he wanted to be; in his cabin in Watersmeet MI, November 15, 2015.

He was lovingly raised by his parents Dale and Mildred Ellenberger and grandparents Chester and Clellah Isanogle in Bluffton, Indiana. He graduated from New Haven, Indiana high school where he solidified his passion for competition in sports. Norm was recruited to play football at Butler University where he was a three sport athlete. During his tenure at Butler he was team captain and all conference on Butler's football team and a two year varsity letter winner. Norm was mentored by Hall of Fame Coach Paul D. "Tony" Hinkle on the Butler Bulldogs' basketball squad, becoming a two year varsity winner. Norm pitched one of five no hitters in Butler baseball history and was named Indiana Collegiate Conference Baseball Most Outstanding Player in 1954. He was also a two time all conference player for baseball, a knuckle ball specialist. Norm was inducted into the Butler Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012. During his speech accepting the award he spoke of his time at Butler as "blessed enough to have the experience".

Norm was drafted into the US Army. He met the mother of his children Judith Weld in 1956. They had three beautiful children together; Barbara, Shari, and James.

During this time Norm was drafted by the Pittsburg Pirates to pitch. He was released after one year after an injury, which led Norm to direct his passion towards coaching. New Haven High School, his alma mater, hired him to coach high school basketball which was the beginning of his legendary coaching career. Norm left New Haven High School in 1963 to coach at Monmouth College, IL. While at Monmouth he coached basketball, football, and baseball. After three seasons at Monmouth Norm was offered the assistant coaching position under Coach Bob King at New Mexico. When King resigned in 1972, Norm was named head coach of the Lobos. As first year head coach he led the Lobos to a 21-6 record. The Lobos went on to win the Western Athletic Conference championships in 1974 and 1978, compiling a "Stormin Norman" overall record of 134-62 (.684). Norm was named Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year 1973-1974.

Norm's coaching career extended internationally, conducting coaching clinics in four continents. He was an official guest in China and Taiwan. In 1974 he took his New Mexico team to Tel Aviv, Israel, winning the International University Basketball Games for the United States. He coached the Korean and Japanese Olympic teams.

Norm spent time coaching the Albuquerque Silvers and Professional Women's WBA.

Throughout his life Albuquerque remained close in his heart. His memories and stories of players, friends and family were always a part of him even after moving away from the area.
In 1986 Don Haskins hired Norm as lead assistant at UTEP, coaching for four years, one of those years as head coach. Bob Knight hired Norm in 1990 as assistant for the Indiana Hoosiers until 2000 when Norm accepted an assistant coach position for the Chicago Bulls. It was during Norm's time at UTEP and Indiana that his love of Muncho Lake, British Columbia began. After discovering Muncho Lake, Norm began a career as a fishing guide in the Northern Rockies of British Columbia during the off season. His last trip to British Columbia was this year fishing with dear friends catching Lake Trout, Pike, laughing, talking, and telling many stories of his extraordinary experiences of his life.

In 2012 Norm was honored to once again coach with his lifetime friend John Whisenant for the New York Liberty.

During the last 15 years Norm coached numerous high school basketball teams which was the driving force of his passion for the game and life. "Everyone has an itch to scratch", he would say about continuing to coach until his last day on earth. His passion for teaching players about the game extended to life lessons, always guiding and teaching, always offering his time and talent unselfishly, contributing to what he had to share.

Norm is survived by Judi, the mother of his children. Daughter Barbara (Steve)Dobson of Bellingham, WA. Daughter Shari Ellenberger of Seattle, WA. Son James (Suzanne) Ellenberger of New York City. Grandchildren; Shane, Gabe, Sharon, Billy, Dale, Juliette, Samantha and Christiana.

Norm spent his last years with his sweetheart Lori. He was very close to Lori's children Philip, Peter, and Ricki Ann. Kiva, his chocolate lab is already missing him, as Norm would refer to her as "the brown dog".

Norm is also survived by his cousin Mary Ann Ellenberger of Indiana, as well as extended relatives in the New Haven, Blufton, and Fort Wayne area.

A memorial celebration of Norm's life will be held December 5, 2015 at the Lakeland Union High School Fieldhouse in Minocqua, WI. Memorial Gathering to start at 11:00 AM and Service at 1:00 PM a reception will follow.

In lieu of flowers....Norm had a special place in his heart for Diana and George Trejeque whose son Erin passed away of childhood cancer. Erin's Place is being built in Albuquerque for children with cancer and their families to help care for them in times of need. Website is or mail donations to The Children's Cancer Fund of New Mexico, 112 14th St. SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102.

Online condolences may be shared at

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, December 5, 2015

11:00am - 1:00pm

Lakeland Union High School Fieldhouse

9573 Hwy 70 West, Minocqua, WI 54548

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Starts at 1:00pm

Lakeland Union High School Fieldhouse

9573 Hwy 70 West, Minocqua, WI 54548

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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