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IN MEMORIAM: Gee-Gees remember George House

Portrait of George House on the left, photo of House waving to camera as team boards plane on right.
uOttawa Archives

George House was a builder of the Gee-Gees men's basketball program as it entered the modern era of university basketball. The Gee-Gees mark his passing at the age of 82, on June 23, 2019. 

House became the team's head coach after completing his law studies at uOttawa and from 1965-1969, House coached three seasons while the team competed in the Ottawa St-Lawrence conference before bringing the team into the OQAA conference in his final season. Two years later, uOttawa joined the OUAA conference where it has remained ever since.

Making an immediate impact on the Gee-Gees basketball program, House lifted the team spirit, skill, and expectations during his first season. At the time, outdoor pre-season workouts took place at Brewer Park and later the team moved indoors at the U of O High School on Riverside Drive, where games were also played.

House was noted for his "hard work and long hours put in by the soft-spoken coach" at the conclusion of the 1966-67 season. That year, when the team made the playoffs for the first time since the 1950s, House toasted the team with champagne on the way home from Montreal, saying it was a team "that made me proud to be part of."

He also wrote an editorial for the Fulcrum in which he stated: "What is important is that on that evening [of the playoff game], the haunting spectre of 'loser' had abandoned us forever. The University of Ottawa has arrived and I am proud to be part of this new machine." He nicknamed his team House's Hornets, and coached them to a 23-32 record over the four competitive campaigns.

House announced his "retirement" from coaching before the end of the 1968-69 season, allowing the team to give him a proper send-off. Then 28 years old, he held a partner position at his law firm, then named Abelson and House, which demanded his attention as the athletic department shifted towards having full-time staff members as coaches.

Prior to coaching the Gee-Gees, House starred at Carleton University and Glebe Collegiate. Despite his commitment to his law practice, House would continue to feature in the local basketball scene throughout his life. He served as an Executive Board member for both Canada Basketball and Tennis Canada. His legacy in Ottawa basketball circles is immense, and he will be greatly missed.

 Team photo, men's basketball

Team photo, men's basketball.

Candid team photo