GC, Central KY Blessed As Host of ‘Courage in Munich’ Reunion of ’72 USA Olympic Basketball Team

Frank Harshaw, center, of Platinum Sponsor Harshaw Trane and his wife, Paula, upper right, took their turn posing with the ’72 Olympians on Saturday before the dinner. Front row, from left: Assistant coach John Bach, Tom Burleson, Jim Brewer, Harshaw, Doug Collins, Tom McMillen, Bobby Jones. Back row: Jim Forbes, Mike Bantom, Dwight Jones, Tom Henderson, Ed Ratleff, Kevin Joyce, Kenny Davis, Mrs. Harshaw.

Georgetown, KY – Eyes from all over the basketball world were on Saturday’s tribute banquet that brought the 40th Anniversary Reunion of the 1972 USA Olympic men’s basketball team to a glorious close.

And, Georgetown College – thanks to co-visionaries Kenny Davis, the GC All-American who captained the star-crossed ’72 squad and GC Executive Scholar-in-Residence Billy Reed – had the unique opportunity to play the host for the program at Lexington’s Marriott at Griffin Gate and several prior days of public events and private gatherings.

At an opening reception Aug. 22 at The Mansion at Griffin Gate, Billy Reed, center, enjoyed the talk of high school basketball days between President Bill Crouch, right, and Olympian and North Carolina Tar Heel star Bobby Jones, while Tess Jones and Jan Crouch conversed.

“These wonderful events demonstrated what our college is all about – Character Development,” President Bill Crouch said. “A very wide audience got to hear our story as well as that of the Olympians. And, now many know as I do – Kenny (Davis) is the model of a Georgetown student.”

For a sampling of how this historic reunion was viewed by the world, read Steve Aschburner’s fine piece at NBA.com; and, for what significance this could have for Georgetown College see the follow-up story in the Georgetown News-Graphic.

Those who met any of the eight Olympians who played in Thursday’s First Tee Scholars Golf Invitational and/or attended at least one of the four Friday seminars on that historic Olympiad at GC’s Thomas & King Leadership and Conference Center certainly came away with a good sense of how special this ’72 team was.

The bond that these dozen college players formed in Munich four decades ago – ever-solidified by the painful, controversial Gold Medal game loss to the Russians as well as the horrific memory of the slaughter of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists – was obvious to the more than 600 people who attended Saturday’s dinner.

Many more got to hear the welcome from Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear followed by the emotional, insightful and funny address by Doug Collins – the would-be-hero of that team and recent color commentator for NBC at the London Olympics –  thanks to iHigh.com.

A number of the Olympians called it a “miracle” that all 12 teammates are still alive and able to get together for the first time since Munich. To a man they felt fortunate to rehash the stories and make new memories.

And, they blessed us – the Georgetown College, Scott County and central Kentucky communities, as well as Presenting Sponsor Converse on down – by openly sharing much of their laughter and their tears.

After the ’72 USA team was recognized during pre-game ceremonies at the Aug. 23 Lexington Legends baseball game, a number of GC alumni gave them a big Tiger welcome. Front row, from left: Neely Thomas Buhr ’05, Jason Ladd ’94 and wife Melanie Thomas Ladd ’96, John Farley ’05 and fiance Bethany Roll ’07, Amy Shaw ’96, (Olympian) Kenny Davis ’71 and Alumni Relations Director Laura Owsley ’92. Back row of Olympians: Jim Brewer, Ed Ratleff, Mike Bantom, Tom Henderson, Tom Burleson and Bobby Jones.



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