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Coach's goal is to teach basketball to youngsters

George Stottlemyer

George Stottlemyer

April 29, 2007|by MARK KELLER

George Stottlemyer's loyalty to the Hagerstown Junior Basketball League could never be questioned.

For 44 years, Stottlemyer served as a head coach in the league's junior division, for players in grades six through eight.

Because of that long-standing service to the league, some officials within the organization thought it would be a good idea for him to run the league.

Stottlemyer agreed to take over as the league's president, on one condition.

"The only way I would accept was if I was able to keep coaching my team," Stottlemyer, 73, said. "Ideally, you don't want your officers to be coaches so there's no conflict of interest. But I have no conflict of interest. I do what's best for the league."

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Stottlemyer took the wheel and steered the league through the 2006-07 season, and did an admirable job with his Funkstown Legion team, too, leading it to a second-place finish in its division. He also was elected to another term as league president.

At a time when many youth league teams are coached by parents, Stottlemyer is a rarity. He doesn't have a vested interest in one particular player; therefore, he takes an interest in all of his players.

His primary goal: To teach the game of basketball.

"That's the biggest reason I wanted to keep my team, because I like to teach the game," Stottlemyer said. "It isn't always winning. One of the most satisfying years I had was with a team that improved so much from the beginning of the year to the end."

Stottlemyer said it's the kids that keep him coming back year after year. And with decades of coaching behind him, he's gotten to see a lot of the kids he's coached go on to bigger and better things.

"I'm coaching the kids of kids that I coached before," Stottlemyer said. "And I see what they've become now, they've gone on and accomplished so much more than I ever accomplished. ... There's a lot of satisfaction in that."

Stottlemyer mentioned his high school coaches and the impact they had on his life, and he said he realizes he has had the same sort of impact on some of those who played for him over the years.

"A lot of times, kids don't appreciate or don't understand the things that you say to them or the things you teach them until they're older," Stottlemyer said. "But when they come up to me and say, 'Hey, Coach, remember me? I played for you way back when. How are you?' you know that they do understand."

Does he remember those players?

"I remember most of them, but I can't say I remember them all," he said.




Q&A



Name: George Stottlemyer

Hometown: Hagerstown

Occupation: President of the Hagerstown Junior Basketball League; retired owner/ operator of George and Willie's Restaurant in Hagerstown

What was your proudest moment?: "A couple from high school: I played for the first Hagerstown basketball team to win a state championship (Hagerstown High School, 1951). And I was the manager of the football team, and because I always worked out with the team, the coach played me in the Thanksgiving game against Waynesboro."

Whom do you admire most and why?: "There are a lot of people I think highly of in a lot of different fields, but I can't really pick out one that I admire above all others."

What is the best advice you ever received and who gave it to you?: "My high school coach, Mel Henry. He always preached to all of us, 'You're either 'teriorating' or deteriorating,' meaning you're either building or you're falling down. So, you want to be teriorating as much as you can."

What is the next goal you'd like to achieve?: "Stay healthy and continue to be able to be a service to the community and the basketball league."

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