Memorial services to celebrate the life of George E. Killian, the first-ever Executive Director of the NJCAA who passed away on Wednesday, Dec. 6, have been set.
Wednesday, January 10 at 4:00 PM MST
Family of Christ Lutheran Church
675 Baptist Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80921
Killian's tenure in the NJCAA was spread across 37 years of service. His impact to the membership was felt by all, and many of those close to George expressed the importance of his leadership.
Wayne Baker – Odessa Director of Athletics / NJCAA Executive Director (2004-2009)
Myself and the entire NJCAA will always be indebted to George Killian as he was primarily instrumental in the development of the strong association that exists today. George always had the ability to unite the developing association on divisive issues through coercion and strong leadership.
George Killian implanted upon me personally that we must always consider the welfare of the student athlete above any personal goals that we have and that a strong organization always places the growth of the organization over the betterment of one person or college. The footprint of George Killian will remain forever upon the collegiate sports world, particularly the national organization for two year college athletics.
Art Becker - Scottsdale Athletic Director / NJCAA President (2005-2011) / Region I Director
I was always amazed at George's energy and passion for his job as Executive Director. From 1969 to 2004, George, as Executive Director, oversaw the development of the NJCAA into the modern, national athletic organization it is today. Personally, I would never have become an officer in the NJCAA without his encouragement and support. I will always be indebted to him for this. George was a giant in the athletic world.
Jamie Hamilton – NJCAA Division I JUCO World Series Tournament Chair
A longtime friend, George made me a better person, made our committee better as a whole, and made our World Series one of the best amateur events in the United States. George was a true ambassador for Grand Junction. Whenever we needed anything, George would be there to fully support us. I was fortunate enough to see George in action and how he directed- he did it with a style where he knew what needed to be accomplished. Everything George did was for the common goal- give the student-athlete a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Mary Ellen Leicht – Former NJCAA Executive Director (2009-2017)
Within the first week of accepting the position of NJCAA Executive Director, it became abundantly clear to me that I never appreciated George, or the work he did for 30 years, enough. I cannot imagine the time and energy he put into growing the NJCAA from nothing into the national presence it is today. Every person whose life was ever touched by the NJCAA owe him a debt of gratitude, and I put myself at the very top of that list."
Ron Mann – Former NJCAA Treasurer for the Men's Division
George and I knew each other for over 40 years. In those days, George was the NJCAA, he was the leader that the association needed. We spent a lot of time working together. George had a big bark but a little bite. He saw the direction the NJCAA was going and he helped expand it. He added so much to the association.
George was very instrumental in providing opportunities for women's sports. He thought a lot of women's athletics and helped get them to where they are today. He also had a great impact internationally and really helped expand the NJCAA in many ways.
Jerry Ricksecker – NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament Chairman
In Hutchinson, George was known for his gruff and tough demeanor, often demanding instead of asking. That was George's way of doing business, but underneath that persona, George had a good heart and was an extremely good, loyal friend to the people of the Hutchinson community and the American Legion.
Although I had known George for a number of years when I was a Team Host and then Assistant Tournament Chairman of The Tournament, it wasn't until I became Tournament Chairman following the 2003 Tournament that I got to know George, the man. It was my first year as Chairman and George's last year as Executive Director. Being Executive Director was not just a job to George. He was deeply dedicated and loyal to the NJCAA, his staff, and the NJCAA community. The NJCAA was his life, his baby. During his tenure as Executive Director, George Killian was the NJCAA. Through his leadership and foresight, the NJCAA grew to the organization it is today.
George was well known and respected in Hutchinson. Whenever the word "George" came up in a conversation, there was no doubt that it was George Killian they were talking about. George was a "character" and the Hutch people loved him.