Jerry Bartow, a.k.a. “Forty” “Lefty” or “Four-Oh,” attended Taft High School in Taft, Oregon from 1948-1952 and competed in football, baseball, basketball, and boxing. A gifted all-around athlete, he was named All League in football, baseball, and basketball. In 1951-52 as a senior, he earned All-State honors in basketball.
In 1952, Jerry attended Washington State in Pullman, Washington, graduating in 1957. While there he played freshmen basketball and then focused on baseball. In 1956, Jerry was captain of the College World Series Team in Omaha, Nebraska, and in 1958, he played on the National Baseball Championship Team in Wichita, Kansas. A student once again, Jerry earned his teaching credential and his master’s degree. Returning home to Oregon, Jerry pitched two years for the Salem Senators, a professional baseball team.
In 1961, Jerry was hired by the San Diego Unified School District, where he spent 14 years teaching and coaching baseball at Hoover High. His teams won several league championships and two C.I.F. Championships. Recognized for his outstanding contribution to high school baseball, the San Diego Hall of Champions honored Jerry as a San Diego County High School Coaching Legend in 2003.
In 1976 Southwestern College hired Jerry to teach and coach baseball. As Head Coach for the past 31 years, Jerry and His “Apache” and “Jaguar” teams have won seven Mission and Pacific Coast Championships and recorded more than 720 wins. Recognized by his colleagues, Jerry has been named “Coach of the Year” countless times. He takes great pride in the many scholarships his program has secured for the young men he has coached over the past three decades. Jerry is fondly renowned for his coaching antics, notorious slide, and also for the beautiful “field of dreams” baseball arena that graces our campus. He has raised thousands of dollars to help fund his first class program by selling Christmas trees and concessions year round. In the 1980s Jerry rolled a little red popcorn cart around campus to raise funds, but even more significant, he drove the infamous “Apache Bus” and survived. For many years, Jerry also supported the cheerleaders and served as their moderator. Although Jerry continues to coach the baseball team, he retired from teaching in 2003.
Jerry was married for 42 years to his late wife, Betty. They raised three daughters, Teresa, Brenda, Karen, and one son, Bucky. He now has 16 grandchildren. His daughter-in-law, Patti Bartow, is the SWC Child Development Center Director and helps the Athletics’ Office keep an eye on Jerry in his semi-retirement.
Jerry best memories include Bud Milke and President DeVore. He also recalled: “Bob Mears took away a dozen baseballs whenever I talked with Bill Duncan. President DeVore had the Fire Department Handcuff me for burning our infield so we could play that rainy day.” His most baffling question, “How did (beloved secretary) Shirlee Bonhag always find me when I was in trouble?” Assistant Coach, Jay Martel says Jerry’s favorite lines are “Have you seen my keys?” and “How are they? Are they any good?”
At this writing, the ’07 Jaguars are one game out of first place after defeating Palomar College. Driving his cart around campus, Jerry is smiling.
It is an honor to induct Jerry Bartow into the 2007 Southwestern College Athletic Hall Of Fame.