George Killian

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Coach, Athletic Administator

When someone starts a career in 1954, many would expect that this individual would not be a major contributor to his profession 55 years later. At the young age of 85, George Killian is ignoring this preconception and is still active in traveling the world as president of the International University Sports Federation (FISU). To this day, Killian is one of the most influential men in amateur sports in the world.

George’s career began in 1954 when he became the athletic director and men’s basketball coach, for the then Erie County Technical Institute (Erie Community College). He stayed at ECC until 1969 and compiled quite a resume, including the construction of the athletic complex at ECC-North Campus and the development of the academic program, Recreation/Leadership. He still holds the ECC men’s basketball coaching record for most wins with 253.

In 1969, the Valley Stream, NY native, left ECC to become executive director of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). He served in this position until 2004, and under his guidance and leadership, the NJCAA became the chief governing body for community and junior college athletics in the United States. He was instrumental in the birth of the first collegiate women’s division in the NJCAA.

It was Killian who was the driving force responsible for Buffalo hosting the 1993 World University Games. His influence in FISU was the reason Buffalo became the first U.S. city to host the Summer Games. The area still benefits from the construction of world class athletic venues for the World University Games.

George Killian was president, vice president or executive director of many worldwide organizations that included the International Basketball Federation, and the Confederation of Pan American Basketball Association. Killian was also a member of the United States Olympic Committee Board of Directors for 36 years, and was a member of the International Olympic Committee. He has been elected to the NJCAA Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, NJCAA Baseball Hall of Fame, Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, ECC Athletic Hall of Fame, NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaching Hall of Fame and the Ohio Northern University Athletic Hall of Fame. He has been the recipient of the Olympic Order of Merit, and has been named an honorary citizen of Beijing, China. These represent only a handful of the awards/honors that have been bestowed on him.