NEW LONDON, Conn. – Coast Guard Academy head football coach Bill George announced this morning that Saturday's game against Merchant Marine for the Secretaries' Cup will be his last as he will retire at the end of the academic year.
George, in his 21st season, has a school record 75 career wins as head coach at the Academy. Coach George led the Bears to a pair of New England Football Conference (NEFC) Bogan Division championships in 2006 and 2007.
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"Over the past 21 years, as the head football coach and faculty member at the United States Coast Guard Academy, I have had the honor and privilege of utilizing the sport of football to develop future officers. I have been surrounded by cadets, whom I consider the finest people on the face of the earth, as they become future officers," said George. "The Coast Guard Academy is a special place. I have worked alongside the academy family of cadets, faculty and staff, civilians and military and most importantly the assistant football coaches, as we have together trained future officers."
"It is these same cadets, faculty and staff, officers and enlisted military who lovingly surrounded my parents at the Academy in their final years and celebrated with my wife Nancy and I when our daughter was born just nine years ago," added George. "I will never be able to repay all of the love and respect given to me and my family by the Academy and the United States Coast Guard. However, I will be turning 62 this year and although retiring is one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make, I believe it is time make my family my only priority."
George was named NEFC Bogan Division Coach of the Year in 2007 as he led the Bears to their second consecutive NEFC Bogan Division championship as the team was a perfect 7-0 in division play for the second straight season. The team lost in the NEFC Championship Game for the second straight season and finished the season 8-2.
In 2006, the Bears tied a school-record with eight straight wins, finished the regular season 8-1 and earned a spot in the ECAC North Atlantic Bowl, the school's first postseason bid since 1997 and finished 8-3 overall.
Prior to arriving at Coast Guard, George, spent nine years (1990-1998) as an assistant coach at Ithaca College.
Prior to Ithaca, George was an assistant coach at the United States Military Academy Prep School (USMAPS) for three seasons (1987-89).
The 1980 graduate of Ithaca College, began his coaching career in 1982 as an assistant coach at Ithaca before moving on to Princeton in 1984. George was then a graduate assistant at Ohio State for two seasons (1985 and 1986).
During his playing days at Ithaca, George was a four-year starter (1976-1979) at center for legendary coach Jim Butterfield. George was an All-American and co-captain of the 1979 team which won the National Championship during his senior year.
"Every time I have stepped on to the football field, for a practice or a game as Coast Guard head coach, I have been surrounded by a diverse group of young men who have always charged ahead through every difficult situation. Never has a single football player ever quit or even slowed down, no matter how great the challenge," said George. "I have been the most fortunate coach in the history of football. I was blessed to have had the opportunity to coach them for 21 years. Our nation is blessed as they serve the United States of America in the years ahead."
The Academy will conduct a national search to identify coach George's replacement.