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  • George Killian, 93, Ex-IOC Member, FISU Chief


    (ATR) George Killian is being remembered for a career as a global sports leader with an engaging personality and energy.
    George Killian at SportAccord 2009 in Denver (ATR)

    Killian died Dec. 6 in Arizona where he resided with his wife, Marilyn. Killian was born in 1924 in Brooklyn, New York.

    His first big job came in 1964 when he was named basketball coach at Erie Community College in New York. Eventually he would become longtime president of Junior College Athletics Association in the U.S.

    From that position he became active in the leadership of FISU, the international federation for university sport that holds the Universiade every four years. He became FISU President in 1999 following the death of Primo Nebiolo and served for two terms until 2011.

    He is credited with bringing the Universiade to Beijing in 2001, the biggest multi-sport event that had been held in China at that time. Years after the event, banners trumpeting the Universiade still hung in Beijing with Killian’s smiling face.

    His involvement with basketball would lead to leadership posts with USA Basketball and the presidency of FIBA from 1990 to 1998. His FIBA tenure was notable for the addition of NBA players to the Olympics, beginning in 1992.

    From 1996 to 1998 he was an IOC member during his last two years as FIBA President.

    “George Killian dedicated the better part of his adult life to the Olympic Movement and the ideals it seeks to advance. We’re grateful for the legacy of service that he leaves behind and mindful or our role in continuing his work on behalf of athletes everywhere,” says USOC CEO Scott Blackmun.

    George Killian was FISU president from 1999 to 2011 (FISU)
    A statement from FISU remembers Killian for “a storied history of promoting University Sport and is regarded as one of the most influential leaders in FISU’s history.”

    "George will be greatly missed by all of us at FISU,” says FISU President Oleg Matytsin.

    “After leading three U.S. delegations to the Universiade, he first joined FISU in 1975, and later served unwaveringly as President. George was deeply committed to helping young people achieve their potential through sport. We are comforted by the knowledge that the impact of his work will continue to be felt for many years to come,” said Matytsin.

    Harvey Schiller, USOC Secretary General in the 1990s tells Around the Rings that Killian was a sports leader who became an influence as a result of his work at the grass roots level.

    “What you saw is what you got,” said Schiller about his fellow New Yorker’s down-to-earth style.

    Killian’s energy was legendary. As an octogenarian, Killian led FISU until he was 86, travelling the world to boost the Universiade. Besides Beijing in 2001, Killian brought the Universiade to China two more times, Harbin in 2009 for the winter edition and Shenzhen in 2011 for the summer edition.

    Reported by Ed Hula.

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