Deceased October 11, 2011
George Bassos died in his hometown of Hartford, Conn., on Oct. 11, 2011. Ted Ketterer '66, Paul Ruxin '65 and Lew Markoff '65 summoned recollections of George for us here.
George came to Amherst from Conard High, where he was captain of the football team. At Amherst, George was president of our senior class. After Amherst, he earned his master’s degree at Trinity in Hartford. George then embarked on a long career as teacher and coach. He took Bloomfield High to multiple state championships.
The George we remember was an athlete, of course—one of Amherst’s greatest tackles ever. The success of the football team during our years at the college rested much on George’s enormous shoulders.
But George was more than a ballplayer: Though the obituary in the Hartford Courant states his nickname was “Coach,” to us he was “The Greek.” In fact, George wrote a paper for Humanities 1 about a football team where every position player was a character from The Iliad. Ted Ketterer '66 remembers lining up across from George during one-on-one blocking drills and how tough that was! Yet George, as the Beta sandwich man, would give away sandwiches, grinders and milk to anybody in any house or dorm that was broke. Also, he could drink formidable quantities of beer! And Lew Markhoff '65 recalls a similarly epic capacity for ice cream—and marathon games of bridge—as well.
George’s huge appetite for life and its variety led him on to a non-linear path for some years, which threw up obstacles he had to deal with. Yet when I spoke to George a couple of years ago, he was proudly back to teaching at a school where the kids had “a few problems.”
George was drawn to the gamblers’ world of shifting odds. But his players, students, those kids with problems and certainly us, his classmates, were lifted by George’s infectious energy and smile. That is—A Sure Thing.
Ted Ketterer ’66
Paul Ruxin ’65
Lew Markoff ’65
Paul Ehrmann ’65