During his 38 years in college athletics, he went from taping Larry Johnson’s ankles to being UNLV’s interim athletic director to shoveling out of three feet of snow.
After this weekend’s America East track and field meet, he’ll be leaving it all behind.
Except for the snow.
Jerry Koloskie is retiring Sunday. He plans to make frequent returns to Las Vegas during Yeti season. Otherwise, he will make his home in Saratoga, New York, about 2 1/2-miles from the iconic racetrack and a 40-minute drive from the University at Albany, where he is deputy athletic director.
“It’s been a really good run here in Albany, but it’s just time,” said the longtime athletic administrator and trainer who spent the first 31 years of his college athletic career at UNLV.
His stint at Albany was sort of like Willie Mays finishing up with the Mets. Although Koloskie’s batting average with the Great Danes was probably higher.
“When you’re in this business for 38 years, you give up a lot and make a lot of sacrifices with your family, and your family makes a lot of sacrifices for you,” he said. “I just turned 62, so it’s not like I can’t work anymore. I just want to spend more time with my kids, and I have a couple of grandkids now. That’s really it.
“The people here have been great to me and my family and appreciate everything I’ve done.”
Same for the people at UNLV. Almost all of ‘em, anyway.
Koloskie probably would have finished his career here were it not for budget cuts toward the end. A reorganization of the athletic department resulted in his salary being trimmed by about 20 percent. As is his style, he refused to mention names.
“I had a great time all but one year at UNLV,” he said of a Rebels resume that rivals the one of the guy in that old Frank Sinatra song. Jerry Koloskie was never a puppet, a pauper or a pirate. Except, perhaps, for that year he took the pay cut. But he was just about everything else.
Associate athletic director. Deputy athletic director. Interim athletic director.
Athletic trainer. Head athletic trainer. Assistant athletic director, sports medicine and operations.
Butcher, baker, candlestick maker.
If they ever did a modern version of the “Rub-A-Dub-Dub” nursery rhyme with UNLV as a backdrop, Jerry Koloskie would have had a major role. Only like the executive producer, you probably wouldn’t have seen his name until the credits.
“The thing I enjoyed the most about being — well, I had a bunch of jobs — was just working with the teams, the student-athletes and the coaches,” he said.
You can tell he’s still an athletic administrator for a few more days. He still refers to players as student-athletes.
Man for all seasons
Koloskie said former UNLV athletic director Charlie Cavagnaro was responsible for getting him out of the trainer’s room and into an office close to the corner one, where Koloskie would become a vital cog in the Rebels’ athletic machine when it still was humming like one.
“If it wasn’t for Charlie, who for whatever reason was hell-bent on me moving into athletic administration, I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it,” he said. “He took a chance and it worked out pretty well for me. And hopefully for him as well.”
Koloskie said 5½ years at Albany were an ideal stepping stone to retirement, during which he plans to spend a lot of time on his boat.
The place he and Annette, his wife of 37 years, bought in Saratoga is closer to Saratoga Lake than Saratoga Race Course, where Warren Beatty’s horse is famously said to have won. But being from West Virginia, Jerry Koloskie is not one to strategically dip his hat below one eye. And the only scarves in his drawer are wool, not apricot. They are a vital accessory to any upstate New York winter wardrobe.
He also owns a John Deere riding mower with a snow blower attachment. Much as he did at UNLV, it can perform just about any job, in any season.
Jerry Koloskie file
*Hometown: Monongah, West Virginia.
*College: West Virginia.
*Professional: 38 years in college athletics, athletic training and athletic administration, including 31 at UNLV.
*Wife: Annette (married 37 years).
*Children: John, James, Megan.
*Did you know: Jerry Koloskie played baseball at Marietta College in Ohio.