Staff and the glory days: Ken George

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Darren Breen

Forest Hills Central boys basketball team coach Ken George leads his team as they defeat the Forest Hills Northern team 56-55 in overtime at Forest Hills Northern high school Friday December 10, 2010. (Darren Breen | The Grand Rapids Press)

Remy Tittel, Sports Reporter

 

How did you get started playing basketball and baseball?

“My dad was a high school baseball and basketball coach, so I grew up on the basketball court and on the baseball diamond. I was the ball boy for his teams and once I hit 6-7th grade, I started practicing with his teams when I was there. It’s a family joke now that I don’t understand or remember a lot of things from movies, tv shows, and music from the 1980s because I was out on the driveway all day playing basketball.”

You were the starting point guard for 4 years at Albion. How did you get started there?

“I visited a few smaller schools and knew that I wanted to try to play in college. I actually stopped at Albion as a bit of an afterthought on the way back from a Kalamazoo visit. After an hour on campus and taking with the coach, I got back in the car with my dad and told him Albion was where I wanted to go. I loved everything about it.”

Was baseball hard to leave when choosing to play basketball in college?

“After my freshman year of basketball went better than expected, I was still planning on playing baseball at Albion. But after a few practices that happened immediately after our basketball season ended, I decided that my body needed a rest and that I was going to concentrate on basketball.”

You’re the 17th all-time leading scorer at Albion with 1,075 points, and you still hold the records for best career 3-point percentage and best FT percentage in a season. How did you achieve those marks?

“I was very lucky to have coaches in high school and college who showed a lot of confidence in me, so I was able to have some success as a player. My family always supported me. My parents missed 5 of my 96 college games and those were in Hawaii and Tennessee. Shooting was something that I worked very hard on as a young player and it paid off in the long run.”

What would you say is your biggest athletic accomplishment?

“My most vivid memory is when my high school baseball team played the team that my dad coached in the regionals my senior year. I was up with 2 outs in the last inning with the bases loaded and our team losing by 1. I hit a double and we won the game.”

You’ve played basketball growing up, in high school, and in college, but what is it like to coach and not play?

“My life as a player seems like another lifetime. Coaching is my passion now and I love the challenges it presents. It’s exciting to take a different group of guys every year and try to help them win championships while having positive experiences together.”

You coach here at FHC do you believe in keeping your coaching and teaching separate?

Coaching is teaching and teaching is coaching. I really think they are so closely related that you can’t separate them. Every class that I teach is a team that I’m trying to push to be their best. And, teaching basketball to my players is a big part of coaching.”