AKRON, Ohio — An early mentor of LeBron James and Akron youth sports Legend Jerry Rowland has died at the age of 69, according to Ohio.com.
Rowland, who ran the Ed Davis Community Center and coached there for 40 years, was a three-time City Series scoring champion at Buchtel High School in the 1960s.
James tweeted out the news Thursday.
According to Ohio.com, Rowland hired James for $4.75 a hour to work at the community center as a camp counselor, coaching children while he attended St. Vincent-St. Mary.
“It hurt my heart to learn we lost not only one of the most impactful athletes to come through the Buchtel basketball program but in fact a staple to the west Akron community,” Buchtel boys basketball coach Matt Futch told Ohio.com. “Jerry Rowland was an inspiration and leader. He has taught us so many lessons growing up. God bless his family during this time.”
The City of Akron also sent out a tweet remembering the legacy Rowland leaves behind.
We are heartbroken by the loss of an Akron legend, community leader & youth mentor. Jerry Rowland has passed away after 44 years of service w/ the City. He was a true advocate for youth sports and we'll miss his energy & encouragement. Ed Davis Community Center won't be the same. pic.twitter.com/VMLeiLnIOv— City of Akron, Ohio (@AkronOhioMayor) April 18, 2019