Long-time Panthers’ coach Conrad dies
Long-time Corydon Central teacher and coach Jerry Conrad died at his Corydon home Wednesday, Aug 4, 2021. He was 69.
Conrad guided the Corydon Central boys’ varsity basketball team for 13 seasons, which included a sectional championship upset of Floyd Central in 1982. That would prove to be the only sectional loss for the Highlanders during a 10-year run from 1977 to 1986.
Conrad coached cross-country at CCHS as well and helped at various levels throughout the school’s two basketball programs. He spent last season on the bench assisting his son, Josh, in his first season at the helm of the girls’ varsity program.
“He was my mentor and was invaluable to the program,” said Josh. “Dad always said he was teaching the game of basketball, not coaching the game of basketball. He was great around players, coaches and always knew the next step in the big picture.”
Josh, who also played the sport for his dad, said his father had a rule that they wouldn’t talk basketball at home when Josh was playing.
“He followed that rule for the most part; however, the three-mile ride home sometimes took longer than normal,” Josh quipped.
“As a player and coach, the greatest part of having my dad as a coach was always the one-arm hug after the game,” he added. “It didn’t matter if we won or lost, the hug was always there.”
Jerry spent 36 years teaching biology and P.E. at CCHS before retiring in 2013. He taught driver’s education after that and continued to coach basketball.
“Coach Conrad was a constant fixture for Corydon Central athletics. Whether it was his time spent as a head coach of various sports, or all the time he invested as an assistant or youth coach at multiple levels, he was always a presence here,” said Corydon Central athletic director John Atkins. “It’s rare to find someone who is willing to give so much of themselves to an athletic department for so many years, and we are thankful that Coach stayed so committed to multiple generations of Panther student-athletes.”
“The most impressive thing to me is that Dad never quit teaching the game,” added Josh. “After resigning as head coach at CCHS, he was varsity assistant for Coach Randy Gianfagna. He coached my nephews’ teams through elementary school, volunteered at Henryville for me and coached the sixth-grade team at Corydon. In every team, he built the love of basketball, built relationships off the court as well as their skill level on the court.”
Jerry’s playing career included four years at the University of Evansville after graduating from Milltown High School in 1970. His obituary noted that Conrad was a “proud member of the 1970 regional championship basketball team.”
Josh said he will remember his father’s ability to break down games and make adjustments, something he did on the Lady Panthers’ bench last season.
“He took notes, wrote down the adjustments, talked to players,” said Josh. “His experience and knowledge for the game was invaluable. He was going through chemo treatments and it was during the COVID pandemic as well, but the gym is where he wanted to be. And I knew he wanted to be there with me, coaching with me.”
Conrad’s funeral was Friday at Swarens Funeral Home in Ramsey followed by burial in Oak Grove Cemetery west of Corydon.