AVON, IN -
Gerald 'Jerry' Vlasic, 81, 'Coach Vlasic' to most, died peacefully on October 25, 2018 in Avon, IN. Jerry was born in Gary, IN on February 22, 1937 to Matt and Geneva Vlasic (nee Tanner).
He was preceded in death by his parents, his infant sister Judith, his sister Elizabeth (Bette) and her husband Ronald Spangler.
Jerry attended St. Mark Parish School before graduating from Bishop Noll in 1955. He attended Butler University on a football scholarship playing tackle for legendary coach Tony Hinkle on the 1959 undefeated BU team, earning 2nd team All-Indiana Collegiate Conference honors. Following service in the army, Jerry completed BS and MA degrees at Ball State University. He embarked on a nearly 40 year career in education at Mill Creek, Rolling Prairie and East Gary before accepting the head football coaching position in 1971 at his alma mater, Bishop Noll Institute, in Hammond, IN.
Jerry will be remembered most for his love of kids and his success as the gridiron coach at Noll. His 1975 team was undefeated at 10-0. His 1989 (13-1) team won the Indiana 3A Football State Championship. He is Noll's longest serving (26 seasons) and winningest football coach (162 victories). He was Coach of the Year multiple times. He was twice selected to coach in the Indiana North-South All Star Football Game. He is a member of the Hammond Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and was elected to the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 1997.
Survivors include his wife of 53 years, Lila Vlasic (nee Romcevich). He often credited his coaching success to the ongoing support and dedication of Lila. He is survived, also, by his son Jerry Vlasic and his wife Laura, son Nick Vlasic, and their families. Grandchildren Scott, Claire, and Katie Vlasic all from Southern California and Noah, Luke, Carter and Piper Vlasic all from the Danville/Avon, IN area. Also survived by niece Debbie Barbanel (nee Spangler), her husband, Alan, and son Tristan; brother-in-law Pete Romcevich, niece Mary Barber (nee Romcevich), nephew Peter Romcevich and their families; long-time friends and family members Mary Ann McQuen, and Amy and Bubba Stultz.
Jerry was a devoted husband, father, uncle, and a very proud grandfather. He was an avid Chicago White Sox fan. He enjoyed coaching his own boys in Little League and was fascinated by his grandchildren and their activities. He loved to play with them, watch them play football, dance, or run a race.
A Funeral Mass celebrating Jerry's life will be held St. Maria Goretti Parish Church located at 500 Northgate Drive, Dyer, Indiana 46311 on Saturday, December 8, 2018 with the Reverend Father Charles W. Niblick presiding with visitation from 9:30-10:30 a.m. and Mass at 10:30 a.m. A luncheon will follow in the parish hall. Memorial contributions in Jerry's honor may be made to St. Maria Goretti Parish to support the church's children's ministry or to Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, 3737 Waldemere Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46241.