Dr. Jerome Vern “Jerry,” aka “Coach” Krause was born April 3, 1936, in Cedar Bluff, Nebraska. He passed away Wednesday, May 24, 2023, after fighting a courageous battle against cancer.
Jerry grew up on a farm in Cedar Bluff. He was the youngest of five siblings. Fate dealt Jerry a difficult hand early in life when both his mom and dad passed away before he was 4 years old.
Early in life, Jerry showed a passion for education and for playing sports, especially basketball. In high School, he began to strive for perfection in both. Jerry earned letters in basketball and excelled in academics, graduating in 1953 from St. Patrick’s High School in Fremont, NE.
In 1957, Jerry enlisted in the United States Army and served his country until 1963, while also earning a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Wayne State University. Jerry went on to earn a Master of Arts in Mathematics in 1965 and a PhD in Education in 1967, both from the University of Northern Colorado.
After college, Jerry began to pursue his two passions. He began teaching and coaching in 1959, in Adair, Iowa, and continued in Berthoud, CO. While working on his master’s and doctorate at Northern Colorado, Jerry had the opportunity to serve as assistant basketball coach under Dr. George Sage. Jerry was immensely proud and thankful for this opportunity, which launched his basketball coaching career. In 1967, he was offered and accepted the head basketball coaching position at Eastern Washington University (EWU) in Cheney, WA.
Jerry enjoyed the challenge of Eastern’s basketball program. It needed a leader at the time. Coach helped navigate it from an NAIA program to a Division I school, building it into a powerhouse in the Big Sky Conference.
One of his Jerry’s greatest sources of pride was that 81 percent of his players received their bachelor’s degrees.
In the early 1980s, Jerry pursued his passion for writing. He published the first of many basketball books. Jerry is most noted for “Basketball Skills and Drills,” and to date is the most published author in the world on the topic of basketball. In addition to his books, Jerry helped write a curriculum called “Be Like Coach,” modeled after longtime college coach and Jerry’s mentor, John Wooden. The curriculum helped teach coaches how to coach, while simultaneously teaching youth the game of basketball.
He was chair of the National Association of Basketball Coaches Research Committee, which he served on for more than 30 years. He was a long-standing member of the NCAA Rules Committee, served on the NABC Board of Directors, and was on the selection committee for the National Basketball Hall of Fame. He helped oversee the adoption of the shot clock and the three-point line.
In 1996, while working as an assistant coach for Gonzaga and as a professor for EWU, the United States Military Academy at West Point gave Jerry a visiting professor position. He worked at West Point from 1996-2001, leading the Department of Physical Education as well as teaching Philosophy of Sports.
Jerry was appointed Director of Basketball Operations for Gonzaga University, working until his retirement. Coach stayed on with Gonzaga as a consultant with the women’s team for 9 years, collaborating with the team through this last season.
Jerry was a crusader of the belief of diversity, inclusion and belonging. He believed that sport was for all.
Jerry’s impact on the game of basketball reaches far beyond coaching. He was selected to the NAIA Hall of Fame in 2000, and the same year was inducted into the National Association for Sport and Physical Education Hall of Fame. In 2003, Jerry received a “Guardians of the Game for Advocacy Award” from the National Association of Basketball Coaches for his research in developing a standardized rim testing program.
In 2005, Jerry was inducted into Eastern Washington’s Hall of Fame and in 2013 inducted into the Inland Northwest Sports Hall of Fame by the Spokane Sports Commission. More recently, Jerry was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in November of 2022. In April of this year, Jerry was thrilled to attend the NCAA Final Four Tournament, as well as to host a clinic with his colleagues.
Outside of basketball, Jerry could be found working on his home near Cheney, WA, which he built to be environmentally friendly. He cared deeply for the environment.
Jerry had many accomplishments in his life, but one which he was most proud was his marriage to “the love of his life,” Cathy Kelly. Cathy and Jerry spent many years together: traveling, camping, biking and hiking. They shared a love of fitness, health, reading books, watching movies and eating a lot of popcorn.
Jerry is preceded in death by his mother and father: Eva Eliza (Kimble) and Christian Jerome Krause, and brothers and sisters: Christian Bryce Krause, Bonnie Lu Krause Walker, Chrystal Beth Krause Rabbas and Joseph Lee Krause.
Jerry is survived by his wife, Cathy Kelly Krause, his stepdaughter Mary Ann, step son-in-Law, Brett Green, his step-grandchildren, Claire and Brooks Green. Jerry was also a loving uncle to his many nieces and nephews.
Coach had always said he was so blessed to have so many meaningful relationships in his life. It was these relationships that meant the world to him. Jerry will be deeply missed by all those he loved, and he always said, “Don’t have a great day. Make it a great day.” We Love You Coach!
·A very, special thank you to Hospice of Spokane.
·In lieu of flowers, please donate to your charity of choice.
·Coach Krause’s Celebration of Life will be on June 14th 2023, at 4pm at the McCarthey Athletic Center – “The Kennel” – 801 N. Cincinnati St. Spokane, WA 99258
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