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Jerry Augustine: The No. 1 goal

Jerry Augustine pitches during his senior year at UW-La Crosse
Jerry Augustine pitches during his senior year at UW-La Crosse. La Crosse Tribune photo

By Kris Leonhardt


Continued from last week

After graduating from Kewaunee High School, Jerry Augustine headed to UW-La Crosse to pursue a double major in physical education and health.

“I wanted to play baseball; that was my number one goal. I wanted to play sports and I tore my knee up in high school, so I couldn’t play football,” Jerry Augustine recalled.

“I went there as a freshman, and I remember we used to work out at five in the morning — we would go from 5-7 a.m. every morning. I remember my first year it was, it was really funny because I came as a pitcher; we had tryouts for the team. Jerry Hundt was a really close friend of mine, and we were both freshmen. The difference was he just got out of the service and I was a little 18-year-old kid and we got to be very close.

“And I’ll never forget that one time after we were done with practice. We’re in taking a shower and one of our varsity players that was one of our best pitchers, he came in there and he was talking to us … He says, ‘Well, I think there’s two freshmen that are gonna make the team out. And they’re pretty good — pretty good pitchers. I like that little lefty.’ He said, ‘One of them is Augustine, and the other one’s Hundt.’ And that was Jerry and I was in the shower. We looked at each other; we just started laughing and we became roommates and best friends forever after that.”

At UW-La Crosse, Augustine lettered three years in baseball and was a member of two Wisconsin State University Conference (WSUC) championship team for two consecutive years — 1972 and 1973. During the 1973 season, he garnered all-conference recognition with a 4-0 record, 49 strikeouts and a 2.91 earned run average.

Jerry also got married to his high school girlfriend, Nancy Flaherty, after his freshman year and soon started a family.

“I think more so than going to school and getting an education, I think [college] allowed me to grow up. I got married very young and had a child and it really helped me to grow up and understand that there are things you have to do in life you have to grow up and you have to be responsible.

Augustine said that good coaching in high school and college also had a lot to do with him “getting that frame of mind I needed to be No. 1, responsible and yet if I want to play athletics I had to work hard.”

Augustine graduated in 1974.

Next week: Getting the call

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