Below is the “Courage in Munich” wrap-up piece by Georgetown News-Graphic managing editor Jerry Boggs that was published in the newspaper Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
By Jerry Boggs, Georgetown News-Graphic
The accolades, thanks, notes of praise and congratulatory e-mails are starting to roll in at Georgetown College.
But in the afterglow of the 40th anniversary reunion of the 1972 Olympic basketball team, school president Bill Crouch has another message he’s sending out to the faculty and staff.
“What I’ve been working on this morning,” Crouch said Friday from his office, “is, how do we take advantage of it?
“Our challenge is not to let this die. We’ve got to keep this moving forward.”
Crouch is looking for Georgetown College to build on the publicity and goodwill of the historic reunion, which brought together all 12 members of the ’72 Olympic team for the first time since they left Munich, Germany in the wake of the most controversial basketball game of all time.
The event focused media attention from a wide spectrum of organizations onto the college, which hosted the event and is the alma mater of team captain Kenny Davis.
“It was a very significant event for several reasons. One, it demonstrated what this college is all about, which is character development. And a wide audience of people got to hear our story,” Crouch said. “Kenny Davis is the model of what the Georgetown College education does.”
During a press conference Saturday, Davis talked about his pride which stemmed from Georgetown stepping forward from all the schools the Olympians attended to serve as host. It was a point Crouch made to current Georgetown students during a pep rally Sunday night.
“I said, ‘I know a lot of you love UK basketball,’” he said. “But this weekend, all the basketball eyes of the world were on this event. And there was only one college in Kentucky that was involved and that was Georgetown College.”
Crouch said the success of the event was a credit to the school’s entire staff and Scholar in Residence Billy Reed, who spearheaded the reunion along with Davis.
“What an amazing thing for a small town in the middle of the country to be able to pull off,” he said. “Jim Host sent me an e-mail that said in his whole career, it was the best-run event he’d ever been a part of. That’s pretty spectacular.”
Georgetown College’s new Vice President of Enrollment, Michelle Lynch, believes the notoriety and attention the school has received from the event will pay dividends in the future.
“I think this is priceless publicity,” she said, noting the number of high school students who attended Friday’s seminars. “I was impressed with the level of student engagement. These students were not born during this time, their parents may not have been born during this time.
“And they were connecting with a piece of history … and also connecting with Georgetown College at the same time. It was inspiring to see.”
Along with the national media attention which followed the reunion, Crouch also talked about how the event created networking opportunities and how word of mouth can also build positive relationships for Georgetown College.
Olympian Kevin Joyce brought his daughter for the reunion and the high school junior enjoyed the red-carpet treatment with her father.
“Kevin Joyce’s daughter Sally is considering coming here,” Crouch said. “She’s a lacrosse player, she loves horses and she was blown away by our hospitality.
“One thing I know is today, when she’s in school in Long Island [New York], she’s talking about Georgetown College and the experiences she had here.”