Kevin George endured some lean years with the Fairfield University men's basketball team. It did not diminish his passion for the game, however. Watching him coach the Darien YMCA seventh-graders in the Fairfield County Basketball League , he's animated , encouraging and enthusiastic. He also coaches an eighth-grade team in Easton.
"The kids work hard, and they have fun,'' George said. "That's what it's about at this age. We want to teach them fundamental skills, but the most important thing is that they enjoy it."
George came to the area from New Jersey, where he was recruited by Mitch Buonaguro, now the head coach at Siena College. With the Stags, George was a four-year letter winner and 1,000-point scorer. He was the captain of the 1992-93 team that went 14-13 under Paul Cormer. Buonaguro was let go by the Stags after the team went 8-20 in 1990-91. The Stags also went 8-20 in 1991-92, Cormier's first year. Fairfield went 10-19 during George's freshman year. George, a guard, ended his career with 1,265 points and ranks 16th on Fairfield's all-time scoring list.
"We got to play against some of the top competition in the nation and in some of the best arenas,'' George said. "It was a great experience."
The experience helped light Kevin's passion for coaching. He has been coaching Darien youth teams for about seven years, and this year's squad is one of his best. It has run off to an 8-1 start and is 4-0 in league play. Its only loss is a five-point setback to the Carver Center of Norwalk.
"They've been very respectful and responsive,'' said Kevin, who works full time as a social worker for an agency in Derby. "I've gotten great feedback from the parents, and they play well together." George's Easton team is 2-3.
George hopes to land a job as a high school coach. More than 20 years after coming to the area to play basketball, it is still his passion. He also coaches an AAU team in an organization run by former Fairfield star Troy Bradford. "I have great kids, and I have great parental support,'' George said. "It's a great situation."
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