The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

September 3, 2013

Life remembered: Rollings known for big heart

Jerry Rollings dies at age 66


“That was a tough year,” said Schwarz, who had known Rollings since she was a child.

Schwarz said Rollings had a way with the kids; he used humor to keep them thinking positively. Coaching together, they would rely on each other's strengths.

“He was very enthusiastic,” she said. “He would help them lift their spirits (if they were having a bad game). He always had that encouraging word.”

Schwarz considered Rollings her own mentor, too.

“He liked to bunt, and I liked to hit away. He was always telling me, 'Now's the time to bunt,'” she said with a laugh. “We really worked well together.”

Schwarz helped get players together to post messages on Rollings' Facebook page. She's been in contact with numerous former players the past several days to talk about their loss.

“They needed to talk about it,” Schwarz said, adding that she did, too.

Rollings' four-year battle with cancer gave his friends and family time to deal with the idea of losing him. But the reality of it has been hard, she said.

Still, Rollings' page is filled with mostly happy memories, showing the positive legacy he left behind.

“Jerry you will never meet my daughter (estimated date of arrival: Christmas Day!) But from time to time, I will tell her stories about you. … If someday she plays softball I'll tell her to never stop at first base, to always try to stretch it into a double or a triple because that is how you would have coached her,” wrote Steve Wegman.

Schwarz has many memories she will treasure beyond their coaching relationship, she said. They were so close, Jerry and Renee (an LCWM family and consumer science teacher) were in Schwarz's wedding.

“I grew up knowing him, and it was an honor to be able to coach alongside him,” she said.

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