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Our Town: Draft derails educator’s potential college basketball coaching career

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily TribuneLake Tahoe Community College President Guy Lease sits in a reading area at the school's new library.
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If the Vietnam War hadn’t intervened, recently retired Lake Tahoe Community College President Guy Lease might be coaching college basketball.

As a young man, Lease was on the right track, uh, floor: He was a starting point guard at Rice University in the late 1960s and a student assistant basketball coach his last year at the school.

But shortly after graduating from Rice, the Army drafted him, requiring the basketball enthusiast to spend the next two years in the Army’s personnel department. Lease was not deployed to Vietnam.



When he finished military service, Lease veered from his basketball dreams and eventually ended up in education. In the interim, he and his wife spent seven years in West Germany, where he worked as a civilian Air Force base recreation director.

The 63-year-old, who is continuing his LTCC duties under contract until the college finds his replacement, was born in Velasco, Texas, and has been in South Lake Tahoe since 1982. He and wife, Peggy, have been married for 35 years. The couple have a daughter, 34, and a son, 30.



When he’s not overseeing the college, Lease enjoys skiing with his three grandchildren, traveling and playing golf. Here’s how he answered the Tribune’s questions:

“Probably wienerschnitzel. It comes from all those years living in Germany.”

“The ones mostly on people’s minds are the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism. We’re putting American lives at risk, and the American people don’t see a successful way out of the war and are not supportive of keeping troops in Afghanistan and Iraq forever. The cost is draining resources away from other things people would like to see the money spent on.”

“A biography of Abraham Lincoln. It was a Christmas present from my son, because he knows I like to read about history. I’m into historical fiction, where people are writing about what happened and using fictitious characters to tell the story.”

“Oh, man, I don’t have a favorite song, but I grew up with rock and roll and got interested in it in the late ’50s with Elvis and Buddy Holly and in the ’60s with the Beatles and then coming into John Denver, Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand. I like softer music, and I never liked heavy metal or punk and don’t much care for rap, to say the least.”

“I was a student assistant basketball coach my last year at Rice University and might have gone into college coaching on a serious level, but the Vietnam War got in the way.”

“Living person? Wow. I have to think about that one a bit. I do have someone high on my list and that’s Mike Krzyzewski. Coach K has been one of the most successful college coaches in any sport working at a university. It’s a top-flight institution that does not allow nonstudents to come to their campus for the sole purpose of playing ball and trying to make it to the professional ranks. He is a superb leader of young men. I admire him, because he has followed his passion, been very successful in his chosen field and been a positive role model for thousands of young people.”

“Probably the one I’ve enjoyed reading about and what he accomplished was Winston Churchill. I admire his perseverance under incredible challenges he faced and his dogged determination. He wouldn’t be defeated in World War II, and he made very difficult decisions. They threw everything they had to stop the Germans. He was an amazing character.”

“It certainly wouldn’t be a personal wish; it would be along the lines of taking religion out of war (as a cause of war). People fighting and killing people in the name of religion is amazing to me. There should be some acceptance of other faiths.”

“I’d rather fly my own plane. For one thing, I’m hoping to live for 30 to 40 more years and hope to see a lot in that time. I don’t think I’d see anything in an hour that I haven’t seen already.”

“I’d probably take a computer, assuming I had access to the Internet. My wife would be my first choice, and probably the Bible.”


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