Student reflection on passing of Jerry Anderson

The following was submitted by Jacob Cersosimo, a former SCSU men’s tennis player.

When I was a junior in high school my mind was spinning about schools like every other kid in my grade. There was an uncertainty for the first time in my life about where my future was and what I was going to do with my life. I knew from day one that I wanted to play college athletics, that was a guarantee, but the location and the sport were both unclear. As I reflected on myself and my talents I realized college tennis was the perfect fit for me. So I sent emails, many emails, to coaches all around the Midwest begging for a chance to show them I belong at the collegiate level. Only one coach responded gratefully and that was Jerry Anderson.

I expressed my interest and he agreed to meet with my dad and I, if we came to visit SCSU. I will never forget my first encounter with him. It was on the walk way across from the climbing wall in Halenback Hall by the tall tables. He welcomed us warmly to a chilled city in early winter. We chatted for a while. Coach took notice of my ever growing hair (not my best choice) and in the middle of the conversation he received a phone call. He excused himself, answered, and what he said next changed my life forever. He said to the receiver, “I am meeting with a potential recruit right now can I call you back later.” Now to you this may not mean much, but what I understood was, “I think this kid I’m talking to can be apart of my team, and play college tennis.” I’ll never forget that first glimmer of hope he gave me without even realizing it.

Fast forward my freshman year he invited me to tryouts and welcomed me with open arms. I ended up winning the small tryout tournament that guaranteed me a spot on the roster and Jerry and I became quite close over the next months leading into winter break. He helped and ever so eager kid find his way through college athletics at a high level. He had heart surgery just before season and helped out whenever he could (doctor permitting) and slowly became the head coach we all wanted him to be.

As I settled in, I became more confident and began to push some limits with the style of play I was using at the time. One practice I was on court three and Jerry was all the way down at court one and I got lobbed twice in one point. If you know me you know what happens next, I hit two “tweeners” in one point in a challenge match and both were, to my surprise, incredible shots and won me the point. After silently celebrating to myself I hear, “Jake you’re lucky you hit both those in or else you’d be running for the rest of practice” from Jerry at court one. He put me in my place.

Throughout my freshman season he continued to push me to become a better tennis player and an even better man. I will always be forever grateful to the lessons I learned from him in my one and only year as a St. Cloud State Huskies Tennis Player. Moving into my last three years since tennis, Jerry has always been a helping hand to me. I have never gone and seen an advisor for my classes and would always end up, unannounced, in Jerry’s office and he would move his schedule to fit me in on short notice. He helped me just this past year move some classes around so I can graduate, on time, in the spring.

I will forever be grateful for the man that gave me a chance. The man who believed in a young kid from small town South Dakota, who just wanted to chase a childhood dream. He opened so many doors for me that he never even knew he did. He was just that giving. People always ask if I came to SCSU to pursue journalism and I always say no, I came because one man believed in me, and I helped me play college tennis. Thank you for everything, coach. You meant more to me than you’ll ever know. I will forever appreciate you. Rest In Peace Jerry. God Bless.

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