Jerry Georgiana was in eighth grade when a little boy approached him and asked if Georgiana would coach his basketball team.
That moment made Georgiana realize how much he could impact kids both as as a coach and teacher. He wasn't in high school, yet, and did not have the knowledge or academics to get to that point, but he knew it was what he was meant to do.
Georgiana moved to Westminster in 1987, a decision he said changed his life. He immediately got involved with the Westminster Girls Basketball program and Westminster Jaycees Softball program and his contributions to these programs have landed him in the Carroll County Sports Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement.
Georgiana will be recognized along with four other inductees in a ceremony held at Carroll Community College tonight at 6 p.m.
"I spent my whole entire life dealing with kids from when I was in eighth grade," Georgiana said. "It means a lot because Westminster made me who I am. It's nice to be recognized from the community and my ex players who nominated me and all the support letters that were sent in to help the process of accepting me."
Georgiana earned his bachelor's degree from Western Maryland College at age 40 in 1998 and said the kids in the community encouraged him to pursue it. He went on to receive his master's in special education from WMC as well. His earned his first physical education teaching position at Gateway School and has been there ever since.
Prior to Georgiana's arrival, Westminster Girls Basketball was strictly travel based. When he became the program's commissioner, he transitioned the program from travel to in-house and increased the level of involvement from kindergarten up through 12th grade.
What started as a program with a little over 100 girls quickly increased to 500-plus. The program has sent a number of athletes to play basketball in college and Georgiana said he is pleased with its progress. In addition to his contributions to Westminster Girls Basketball, Georgiana runs a skills and drills basketball camp in the summer in order to teach kids basic fundamentals of the sport to help them be successful in the future of the sport.
Georgiana has been asked why he doesn't ever plan to move back to his hometown of Uniontown, Pennsylvania. and he tells those who ask that he can't leave Westminster because the members of the community have made him feel obligated to stay.
"My main goal was to watch girls become successful in trying something new," Georgiana said. "Sometimes they shy away from what they don't know or understand. That's basically what I really wanted — the best for those kids to learn and grow and have fun and watch them put a smile on their face when they do something right."