George Heller

George graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1939 and from Western Kentucky with a bachelor’s degree (1947) and a master’s degree (1948). His Portsmouth teams won 269 with 114 on the other side while playing in the very tough Greater Ohio League (Hamilton, Middletown, Springfield, and Lima). That is a winning percentage of 70.2%. His teams won five league, ten district, one regional and one State Championship (1961). District Championships were in 1951, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964 and 1967. George’s 1961 team provided him with the highlights of his coaching career as they defeated Urbana 50-44 to win the State AA Title and earn him Coach of the Year award.

He served as Vice President of the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association for four years and was District Director for six years.

George played at Western Kentucky on a scholarship under the legendary Ed Diddle. His college career was interrupted by World War II when George spent 44 months in the South Pacific. Coach Heller returned to Portsmouth in 1947 and served as reserve coach for Bill Rohr for four years to begin his coaching career. He also served as an assistant football coach and head baseball coach. In 1951, Coach Heller took over the boys program. He was Ohio Coach of the Year in 1961 and named to coach the South team in the annual North-South All-Star game that same year.

In addition to coaching basketball, he served as an official in football, volleyball and basketball. His 1951 baseball team was the first team from Portsmouth to reach the state semifinals. George was Assistant Principal at Portsmouth High School for eight years. He is a full fledged Kentucky Colonel and active in the American Legion, Elks, Masonic Lodge and Christ Community Church.

George’s wife Faye passed away in 1973 after 23 years of marriage. He has three sons, Dave an Ohio State University graduate who is a supervisor at Yellowstone National Park, Jeff, an Ohio State University graduate who works for the city of Columbus and Chris also an Ohio State University graduate as an insurance executive in St. Petersburg, Florida.