A GIANT RETIRES….SIR GEORGE SOURLIS

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Tiny,

I was very lucky to have been surrounded by great people:  players/kids, coaches and administrators…..they are THE REASON our program was able to withstand the test of time.  I want to thank them, for it is they who deserve all the credit!  I am a very lucky man to have been able to do what I loved for 30 years!

Every kid that I coached for 4 years since 1989 won at least 1 state sectional title.  They ALL made me so proud! I can honestly say that I am making this decision because I simply am able to accept the fact that it is time and I am able to accept that I just don’t want to do this anymore.  I’m really at peace….GEORGE SOURLIS.

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With that SIR GEORGE SOULIS said goodbye to the Shore Conference and with that one of the most dominate era’s in girls basketball has come to an end. Coach Sourlis leaves a legacy of success that may never be matched again. No coach in the Shore Conference has ever accomplished so much over a long sustained period of time. There was never a down period or rebuilding period in the Sourlis era. But more importantly everything in his time, was done with such class and honesty. RUMSON BASKETBALL WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.

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The numbers are so shocking on paper it appears to be fictional. The success of George Sourlis over the past 30 years is hard to get a grip on or to put into words; when you consider that this was a Group 2 school in a small town in the toughest girls basketball conference in America. The numbers below are shocking and only tell a small part of the story.

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RUMSON-FAIR HAVEN REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL

GIRLS BASKETBALL PROGRAM

1986-2016 (30 SEASONS)

*     5 STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

*     5 TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS APPEARANCES

(4th MOST IN STATE HISTORY)

*     3 TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS FINAL FOUR’S

*   14 SECTIONAL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

*   PREVIOUSLY 10 STRAIGHT SECTIONAL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS (2000-2009)

*   18 SHORE CONFERENCE DIVISIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

*   RANKED IN STATE TOP 20             17 STRAIGHT YEARS

*   RANKED IN STATE TOP 20               25 OF 30 YEARS

*   RANKED IN SHORE CONF TOP TEN… 30 STRAIGHT YEARS!

*   RANKED IN SHORE CONF TOP 5   23 OF LAST 28 YEARS

*   20-WIN SEASONS: 16 OF LAST 18 SEASONS (19 in other 2)

** HOME RECORD: 326-47 (.874), OVERALL (653-199) (.766)

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These numbers are historic and will not be matched again in my lifetime. But they do not tell the story of Sir George and his Rumson Bulldogs. No program was expected to deliver more despite having less. In his 30 years as the head of Rumson Fair Haven coach George Sourlis, NEVER had the talent level of RBC, SJV or Shabazz, but yet he was expected to be every bit as good as those schools each year. RFH may have been a Group 2 school but George Sourlis created a monster and it was he that needed to feed the monster called RFH. Anything less than a championship was always considered a disappointing season. In his final year, he finished TOP 5 in the state and watched every senior get a full scholarship to college. Yet somehow it was considered a disappointing year…why? Because George Sourlis set the bar so high, that at times we all lost perspective.

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When I think of George Sourlis here is what I will remember. Not that he is the winningest coach in Shore history. Not that he is the only coach to win 600 games in girls’ basketball. It will not be that every player who played for him won a state title…that would be every single one folks. Here is what I will remember, he loved riding on the fire truck after a state title. He loved it because it created memories for a town and a school. I will remember the team parties at his home. I will remember the pictures he had seniors take at the beach. I will remember him hugging his team after tough losses. But more than anything else I will remember that George Sourlis loved kids. When people accused him of recruiting my daughter he ever defended himself, when he knew it wasn’t true. When his kids made mistakes off the court, he protected them. Even when it hurt his own reputation.  He believed every kid deserved a 2nd and 3rd chance to make good. George Sourlis believed in kids to a fault. But it is what made him special.  WHEN IT COMES TO SIR GEORGE, he always took the heat and never bragged or wanted the public to know about it. When parents got to be too much at times, he always took the high the road. GEORGE SOURLIS AND HIS TEAMS WERE ALWAYS CLASSY.

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The Shore Conference has lost one of the TRUE GIANTS in girls’ basketball. The man who showed us that defense can be played in a way that we have never seen before is now gone. The man that showed,  you can do more with less, if you play as a team is gone. RFH has lost a legend and things will never be the same watching a RFH game. Soon RFH will raise money and name the court after George Sourlis. He will be embarrassed and say the kids did it all. It will be honorable for him to say this… but GEORGE SOURLIS WAS THE ARCHITECT FROM DAY ONE. It will be a great day, but right now it’s a sad day, because he has been such a sauce of pride for the Shore.

His kids all have gone on to get great educations. They have went to schools like Princeton, Harvard, Colgate and Yale. He has done so much for so many, now it will be his time to do something for himself. Like watch his son Teddy play for RFH and enjoy every second. I once told George Sourlis, “I hope one day I can do for your son, what you did for my daughter”. I hope that I can back those words up now. I owe that,  just like a lot of other people owe George Sourlis a debt of gratitude.

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SOURLIS GETS 600TH-( http://hoopgroup.com/coach-profile/sourlis-opening-page/)

It’s now done….one of the ALL TIME GREATS…A GIANT AMONG COACHES, a Brother, a Father, a Husband, a Teacher, a Winner, a  Friend and Defensive INNOVATOR….will be missed….SIR GEORGE SOURLIS THE WINNINGEST COACH IN SHORE HISTORY  IS SAYING GOODBYE!

GEORGE SOURLIS…THROUGH THE YEARS-Large from The Hoop Group on Vimeo.

 

 

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