Friends of Lewis & Clark Remembered
Jerry Gatto, the winningest coach in Lewis & Clark history, died February 26, 2019, at age 80, after losing a battle with an aggressive form of leukemia.
Named Northwest Conference Coach of the Year six times during his 22 seasons as Pioneers baseball coach (1981–2002), he led Lewis & Clark to three Northwest Conference championships, five NAIA District 2 titles, and a berth in the 1990 NAIA Area 1 World Series. He also served as L&C’s director of athletics for three years and director of athletics development for 10 years.
Gatto is in the Lewis & Clark Athletics Hall of Fame with his 1981 and 1990 teams and in the NAIA District II Hall of Fame. He was named West Coast Coach of the Year after leading the Pioneers to the 1990 NAIA World Series.
Gatto’s inspirational philosophy of coaching, and of life, came through strong when the Jerry Gatto Baseball Endowment Fund was announced in 2016: “Believe in yourself. Believe in your teammates. Believe something good is going to happen. And believe, through hard work, success will be achieved.” It took alumni and friends only four months to raise the funds necessary to establish the endowment designated to help support the baseball program at Lewis & Clark. In February, the college announced the start of fundraising efforts to improve the Huston Sports Complex and dedicate an upgraded baseball field in Gatto’s honor.
He is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Carol; three children; and six grandchildren.