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Geri Ann Glasco killed in crash: Sister taught and coached at Pinckneyville

  • Geri Ann Glasco takes a sign from the coach during a game with the University of Oregon.  Glasco was tragically killed Thursday morning in an auto accident in Louisiana.

    Geri Ann Glasco takes a sign from the coach during a game with the University of Oregon. Glasco was tragically killed Thursday morning in an auto accident in Louisiana.
    Courtesy of Jinna Glasco

  • A young Geri Ann Glasco practices pitching, a talent that would earn her college scholarships and national recognition.

    A young Geri Ann Glasco practices pitching, a talent that would earn her college scholarships and national recognition.
    Courtesy of Jinna Glasco

  • Geri Ann Glasco

    Geri Ann Glasco
    Courtesy of ESPN1420

  • Geri Ann Glasco, left, and her sister, Erin Glasco Simons, share a smile during a family gathering.

    Geri Ann Glasco, left, and her sister, Erin Glasco Simons, share a smile during a family gathering.
    Courtesy of Jinna Glasco

 
BY HOLLY KEE
hkee@localsouthernnews.com
updated: 1/25/2019 10:00 AM

UPDATE: Funeral Services will be 11 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 29, at the Second Baptist Church (1902 E. Oak Street) in West Frankfort with Dr. Brett Beasley officiating. Private family interment will follow in Fairview Baptist Cemetery near Creal Springs.

The visitation will be from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 28, also at the church.

Pyle Funeral Home in Johnston City is entrusted with the arrangements.

In a Facebook post on Friday evening, Gerry Glasco wrote the following message:

"In memory of Geri Ann Glasco the Glasco Family Fund has been set up through the Natasha Watley Foundation to aid and inspire young female coaches entering into the softball community. Our family requests donations be made to this foundation in lieu of sending flowers. Donations can be made online at www.natashawatleyfoundation.org or by texting "Glasco" to 91999. We are so thankful for the love and support being shown to our family during this difficult time. ❤️ Please feel free to share this post.

We want to thank Natasha Watley for sharing her foundation with us. Sue Enquist for helping us as well. Our goal is to somehow benefit the young women who choose to go into coaching."

JOHNSTON CITY -- Geri Ann Glasco, daughter of Gerry and Vickie Glasco, formerly of Johnston City, was tragically killed in an automobile accident in Louisiana early Thursday morning.

The 24-year-old was the youngest of the couple's three daughters.

The accident occurred shortly after 1 a.m. in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 10 in Lafayette Parish.

Kenneth McNeil, 45, of Houston, Texas, was also killed in the accident.

According to a report published by ESPN1420, 67-year-old William Rawlings of Killeen, Texas, was driving a 2010 Freightliner 18-wheeler when he encountered slow-moving traffic in an active construction zone. Rawlings was unable to slow in a timely manner and struck the rear of a 2015 Dodge Ram pickup driven by McNeil.

That initial crash started a chain reaction that involved five vehicles.

McNeil's vehicle was pushed into Glasco's 2017 Ford Escape, pushing it into the rear of a second 18-wheeler which then struck another 18-wheeler.

Glasco and McNeil were both pronounced dead at the scene.

Originally from Crab Orchard, Gerry Glasco and his family moved to Johnston City, where he and his trio of daughters made their marks on the softball world.

The oldest of the sisters, Tara Glasco Archibald, is currently an assistant softball coach at Illinois State University. A standout player for the SIU-C Salukis, Archibald graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Elementary Education. She taught in the Pinckneyville schools, where she was also an assistant softball coach.

Erin Glasco Simons was inducted into Johnston City's Hall of Fame last year. After a standout career at Notre Dame and Texas A & M, Simons went on to a teaching career in Texas that included being a pitching coach and assistant softball coach at the University of North Texas.

Gerry served on the Johnston City High School coaching staff before moving to Georgia, where he was an assistant coach at the University of Georgia. He was also as assistant at Texas A & M before being named as the head coach of the Rajun' Cajuns at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Geri Ann attended Johnston City schools through the eighth grade, before moving with her parents to Georgia. She was a standout softball player at Oconee County High School. In 2012, Geri Ann joined the ranks of athletes such as Peyton Manning, Emmitt Smith, and Kobe Bryant, when she was named the Gatorade Softball Player of the Year.

That award is chosen based on athletic achievement, academic excellence, and exemplary character. She was picked from a pool of more than 373,000 softball players nationwide by an advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists. She was the first softball player from Georgia to receive the award.

During her senior season at Oconee, the right-handed pitcher led the Warriors to a 38-2 record. The Class AAA Player of the Year, she posted a 19-0 record with a 0.50 ERA in the circle, while batting .564 with 62 RBIs and a state single-season record 24 home runs.

A four-time First Team All-State selection, she struck out 213 batters in 113 innings, firing 13 shutouts and four no-hitters. Geri Ann also broke the state career record for home runs (47) and doubles (58).

Her college stats were no less impressive.

Geri Ann began her NCAA career at the University of Georgia. As a freshman, she started in all 61 games. She amassed a 17-8 record on the mound, holding her opponents to a hitting average of .233. She had a team-high .743 slugging percentage.

At the end of her sophomore year, Geri Ann transferred to the University of Oregon where she finished her college career.

Geri Ann joined her dad as a volunteer assistant, starting with the 2018-29 season. She began her coaching career in 2017 as a student assistant on Oregon's staff. She also served on the staffs of Mt. Hood Community College and Sandy High School and was a lessons instructor at The Bat Company in Oregon before departing Oregon for Louisiana.

"This is just a tragic loss for our softball family here," said Jay Walker, who covers UL softball for ESPN 1420. "We're just devastated."

Former JCHS coach Lyndell Zanotti did not get the chance to coach Geri Ann before the family moved.

"I watched her a lot. She was a great player," he said. "The girls loved her. She was a team leader."

Zanotti said he was "gut punched" when he heard the news Thursday morning.

"They are a great family," he said. "It's a shame people have to go through this."

Not only did Geri Ann make her mark on the diamond, she also left it on the communities where she resided.

In Oregon, she worked at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders in Portland. She accumulated over 300 volunteers hours helping in elementary schools, participating in Read Across America and Special Olympics, as well as volunteering at a local food pantry and planting trees for Trees for Humanity.

Rawlings submitted to a Breathalyzer test at the scene. No traces of alcohol were found. The interstate reopened at 9 a.m. Thursday. The accident remains under investigation.

In a post to his Facebook page Thursday morning, Gerry wrote, "Thank you all for your prayers! We are grateful for these 24 years that God blessed us with Geri Ann and we are thankful for the past eight months that my wife and I were able to share our home and the softball field with Geri Ann again."

 
 
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