Cubans pay homage to Eugenio George


HAVANA, Cuba, March 14, 2014 – An emotional tribute to Eugenio George, the best coach of the twentieth century, was organized, with close friends and relatives, to celebrate his 60 years dedicated to volleyball and the Golden Collar he received from the International Federation.


The legendary professor was honored by athletes, technicians, referees and supporting staff of the National School where the meeting took place –with many anecdotes and confessions- who expressed gratitude to this pedagogue who is close to turn 81 years-old for his contributions to their success in the sport.


“There are two important things for me, the first is that the Morenas del Caribe are something more than a medal and a victorious era when they were the best in the world, and they represent us with a high level education which is more than the trophies,” he said.


With eloquence he said that precisely they had to be educated to know that when you are not able to succeed “because you don’t win all the time, you must have the education to know what you do when you lose, the athlete must battle everyday to be better, to learn more, to read a book, something about philosophy, anything on hand and always to have a good behavior.”


He remarked that Morenas del Caribe means culture “because they are on the space the belongs to them in that aspect in our country and that’s the importance they really have, not only in volleyball but what they contributed to the culture of that sport in the world.”


He commented the feeling of pride he experienced when they were welcomed everywhere and to see how they expressed, dressed and acted “and how humble they were after winning, without any doubt the unselfish team, with a lot of communication and the relationship they developed even with the most weakest in a competition, that’s my real medal.”


Eugenio admitted to feel admiration for the presence of the men’s Cuban teams “that I saw arriving with the attitude of those persons who know what they were doing, with responsibility and the people they were representing.”


Pretty moved, the winner of three Olympic gold medals and one bronze, medalist in world championships and other high level tournaments, he recalled all those who contributed to create and develop the Cuban Volleyball School throughout the island.


“That’s why when I receive decorations –and I have received a lot- I receive them on behalf of Cuban volleyball, I can be modest as an individual, but as coaches we are obliged to be like that since we know how many colleagues have contributed with whom we are on debt,” as he mentioned Ñico Perdomo, Luis Felipe Calderon, Andrés “Machito” Hevia, Tito del Cueto, Eliseo Acosta, Julio Fernandez Curbelo and his wife of all life, Graciela González.


“When I was elected the best of XX Century, I had the honor of receiving a call from the Chief Commander Fidel Castro, who told me the recognition was to Cuban volleyball. We campaigned for the honor to be granted to the team and it wasn’t, but all the members from 1991 to 2000 later were inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame in the United States.


“It is pretty to remember the history and take the necessary experience, but the present we are building it now. Morenas del Caribe are those little girls, who will assume the challenge, moving forward, not only from the sport point of view, but with the development of their character as we also expect from the male team,” he added.


He highlighted that was the expression of the Cuban Volleyball School “that’s the way we need to take to recover those values, but we have to be confident that we can do it within the shortest time possible.”


Over the course of the meeting, Argelio Hernandez, former player and coach and current FIVB Instructor, made reference to the passion of Eugenio for volleyball from the time in his native Baracoa to his arrival in Havana to become, after attending to international events from 1953 to 1962, the creator of the Cuban School.


Edgar George, who before graduating as medical doctor always followed the steps of his brother, underlined the qualities of Eugenio, who played for the national team in the World Championship in Paris ’56, “really thanks to his dedication and cooperation with the rest of people today we are able to enjoy those successful events, because volleyball is a team sport and in order to win it depends on the integrity and the union of everybody.”


Ariel Sainz, President of the Cuban Federation, affirmed that without forgetting the experience and the history “since that is the starting point, we are working now to make reality our pretensions to take Cuba to the top positions at the high level.”


Players who used, in their respective time, the number 3 on their shirts, Ana Ibis Diaz, world champion in 1978,an Mireya Luis, triple Olympic champion and double world champions, expressed their gratitude to their professor, not only for his guidance toward success, but the father role Eugenio played for the Morenas del Caribe.