Winona Senior High School receives $50,000 donation from former coach

Jerry Raddatz donates $50,000 to WSHS

WINONA, Minn. (WKBT) – It’s a grand gesture from a grand man. 50 grand to be exact.

Jerry Raddatz, a former teacher and coach at Winona Senior High School, is donating $50,000 to its athletics and activities programs.

Raddatz coached baseball at WSHS for more than 20 years, capturing 278 victories and four conference championship titles. In 2015, the baseball field behind the high school was even named Jerry Raddatz Field. Now he’s a Major League Baseball scout, working first for the Cincinnati Reds and later the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“After 20 years I got the opportunity. Professional scouts had come to watch our players, they watched how we played the game, the attitude of the players, the coaches and such, that I received an opportunity to get into professional baseball,” says Raddatz.

It’s an opportunity that he feels wouldn’t have transpired without Winona.

Raddatz graduated from Winona State University in 1966. He spent four years in the city of Wykoff, Minnesota before returning to Winona to teach and coach at the high school. He still lives in the city, just walking distance from the high school, and living in the same house he bought 50 years ago.

“50 years later, it’s 50 years,” said Raddatz, reminiscing about the moment he realized he’d like to give back to the community that gave him the window to do what he loves. “It came to me coming back from Mason City one day, you know, 50 years, this was like in June and they were playing high school baseball in Iowa. 50 years and I’m still in baseball.”

That number 50 is symbolic, and he hopes to pass the same opportunity he was given onto others.

“A thousand a grand, of course, they gave me 50 grand so I’m going to give them 50 grand. It was kind of a meaningful thing in my mind here to show my appreciation for what Winona High School did for me.”

WSHS says they are extremely grateful for Raddatz’s support during a time when the school’s budgets are strained due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That gratitude extends far for Jerry Raddatz, especially in a year like 2020. He reminds us to find what we love and turn it into something that can last a lifetime.

“My love was baseball, from 3 or 4 years old, and I got a chance to do it for 50 years. To be involved in what I love to do. I’m 82 years old and I’m still involved in baseball.”