TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Not a day goes by that former Wildcat head baseball coach Jerry Stitt doesn’t think about his old friend.
“I just remember how he had enough faith in me to pull me out of high school say, hey, you’re my hitting coach. Let’s get this done. I know you can do it.”
Stitt speaks of the late Jerry Kindall, the man responsible for three of the four Arizona national championship baseball banners.
“It was a thing that changed my life and made me the kind of coach I am.”
One year ago, December 24th, 2017, Kindall passed away after suffering a stroke days earlier.
“He was always somebody we could all count on. You knew he was there and anytime we needed anything, he was always there for encouragement and helping us out. Making sure we were doing the right thing.”
Stitt will host an all-ages baseball clinic in January. The date is set for the 13th which also happens to coincide with the one-year anniversary of Kindall’s funeral. Stitt says the date is a coincidence. And yet, it still feels appropriate.
“The stars just aligned.”
Names set to help coach are a who’s who in the Major League coaching circuit including Washington Nationals bench coach Chip Hale, Mets hitting coach Kevin Long, and Astros pitching coach Brent Strohm, all of whom played under Kindall.
“I sent out invitations to every Wildcat that is still out there coaching either college or professional baseball and I got an unbelievable response.”
Twelve months have gone since Kindall’s death and yet his methods and teaching for both baseball and life are still handed down.
“We have guys like Terry Francona, and Chip, and Kevin Long,” said Stitt. “Guys that are the premiere professional coaches that are carrying on his legacy.”