College of the Ozarks Women’s Basketball coaching legend George Wilson is stepping down from the helm of the Lady Bobcats after 16 years.
“I just thought it was time (to step down),” Wilson said. “We had a 30-5 season. I reached a couple of milestones this year. I was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame, which is really pretty amazing considering I was only a college coach for 16 years.”
Becky Vest, who played two years for Wilson after transferring from John Brown and has been his assistant for 11 years, was named Wilson’s successor.
“She has been my assistant for 11 years and I don’t think there is any doubt that she hasn’t earned the job and she is going to do a good job with it,” Wilson said. “I don’t things will change appreciably here.”
Wilson wraps up a coaching career that spanned 47 years between the High School and College ranks and saw him eclipse 1,000 wins in his career this season.
His road to College of the Ozarks was a winding one as he had to be convinced even to accept the job on what was then a temporary basis.
“I was happy being a high school boys coach for 31 years and I enjoyed it. When I left Willard, I thought that was it for me. Then two years later they coaxed me into this job,” Wilson said. “I really didn’t want to take it but they convinced me that I ought to for one year while they found somebody else. They didn’t look very hard evidently. That was 16 years ago.”
Retirement is something Wilson has been considering dating back to last year.
“I thought about it (retirement) a lot, but I thought about it last year too,” Wilson said. “Sooner or later you have to say one more, I just can’t do it. I labored over it a lot and I think I have made the right decision.”
Wilson will have a large amount of free time after almost five decades of coaching basketball, and admits he isn’t sure how he will fill the hours.
“I don’t know yet. I haven’t really had time to think about it,” Wilson said. “I wrote a book along with Robert Vestal, maybe it is time for another edition of that. I don’t hunt or fish, so I am going to try and find something else to occupy my time.”
Even though he no longer will coach the Lady Bobcats, Wilson is certain to be seen hanging around the campus from time-to-time.
“I will be around here (C of O) some. They don’t seem to want to get rid of me,” Wilson said. “It is a big family here and the kids that come here get to be part of it too. We have had great kids.”
Wilson finishes his career with 1,005 wins. The Lady Bobcats made it to the National Tournament 15 out of Wilson's 16 years and finished as runner-up in the National Tournament four times. His Lady Bobcats won 13 MCAC regular season titles and 15 conference tournament titles. Wilson's career record at College of the Ozarks is 447 wins and 89 losses.