'Win three, and I love you': Ragin' Cajuns softball coach Gerry Glasco on the loss of his mother
Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, April 15, 2021
Gerry Glasco knew his mother had been seriously ill.
The Ragin’ Cajuns softball coach called her before the start of a weekend series and asked if he needed to come see her in Marion, Illinois.
“We had three games,” Glasco said, “but I’d have come home on Friday if she wanted me to.
“Actually, it might have been the last words I heard Mom speak. But she said, ‘Win three, and I love you.’ ”
Four days later, on March 23, Sue Glasco died. She was 87.
'Come see me'
Owner of a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University, Glasco, according to her obituary, “put her career on hold to raise children and serve as a support to Gerald’s early farming endeavors.”
The Cajuns played at Texas-Arlington that weekend. They won their Friday game, then lost the next day.
“She (Sue) called me after the game. … I couldn’t understand what she was saying. Later my sister told me she was saying, ‘Come see me. Come see me,’ said Glasco, the oldest of Sue and Gerald Glasco Sr.’s four children. “But I didn’t understand what she was saying. My sister didn’t realize that. So I said, ‘I’ll see you on Monday.’
“If I had known she was saying, ‘Come see me,’ I would have left right then.”
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Vickie Glasco submitted family photo of Coach Glasco visiting his mother.
The Cajuns won the third game of the series, the start of a 17-game win streak.
“As soon as the game was over,” Glasco said, “I got in the car.”
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'A real blur'
“She loved being a farmer’s wife and stay-at-home-mom but never lost her desire to return to teaching. She taught at Marion High School in the 1960s for a few years and later substitute taught for various school districts in Southern Illinois. … She earned a master’s degree in speech communications from SIU in the early 1970s, even while raising four children and keeping them involved in church, 4-H and sports activities.”
Glasco drove north, arriving Monday around 4:30 a.m..
“She passed away Tuesday morning,” Glasco said. “I was able to hold her hand when she passed.
“I was able to help my dad make the first funeral arrangements on Tuesday afternoon, and I drove straight back (to Louisiana) that night, got in real late on Wednesday morning, 2 or 3 a.m.”
The Cajuns had a weekend series against South Alabama, followed immediately by three against Georgia Southern, followed by 10 straight on the road.
“So, an enormous amount of film work getting ready for those games,” Glasco said, “and you’re up all night.”
Between the home games and the long road stretch, Glasco returned to Illinois for his mother’s funeral.
Shortly after he returned, outfielder Frankie Izard suffered a gruesome leg injury during a doubleheader at Lamar. Last week starting shortstop Alissa Dalton underwent hand surgery that’s expected to keep her out more than a month.
“So the whole streak for me is a real blur,” Glasco said.
What’s clear, he said, is “the resiliency of my players and the toughness of my players, to watch each other go down and have other’s back, and then stay focused on what’s really important, and that’s winning games for our program and winning games for each other.”
Glasco family photo of Sue Glasco with Gerry and his three sisters.
The No. 14 Cajuns (32-6, 14-1 Sun Belt) host Texas State (25-6, 8-3) for a three-game series starting Friday (6 p.m., ESPN?).
'Do your job'
“Sue was an active member and past president of the Southern Illinois Writers Guild,” her obituary says. “In the early 2000s, Sue wrote and published a book Down on the Farm: One American Family’s Dream … a compilation of columns she wrote for newspapers in the 1960s (about) her experiences raising children on a farm.”
Gerry Glasco, who has three sisters, lost his youngest of three daughters, Geri Ann Glasco, a former Georgia and Oregon softball standout who’d been working as a Cajuns volunteer assistant coach, to a 2019 auto accident.
He opened UL’s 2021 home schedule against Eastern Illinois, which is coached by his oldest daughter, Tara Archibald.
For Glasco, softball is the intersection of work and family.
“The games are my focus,” he said. “I want to win.
“My job is to win games as a coach, and the one thing I know from my upbringing with my mom and dad is ‘Do your job. Do your job. That’s your livelihood, that’s your role in the world, and do your job.’ ”
Balancing the two things that matter most to him isn’t always easy for the former Georgia and Texas A&M assistant. Yet somehow, for better or worse, he does.
“I think, if anything, the games and the program maybe has distracted from family as much as, maybe more so, than the off the field stuff distracts from the games,” he said. “But, that’s our job. That’s what I am. I’m a coach, so my job is to coach.
“I was able to talk to my dad (Tuesday) morning. I talked to him (Monday) night. But there have been a few days where we haven’t even communicated except by text, because I’m just so busy right now with my job.
“But that’s exactly how he was when I was a child, and that’s how I was raised,” Glasco added. “We work hard, and we focus on what we have to do, what we’re responsible for.”
That’s the way Sue would have wanted it, too.