George Harvey Sage
December 27, 1929 – February 11, 2019
George Sage, 89, of Greeley, died peacefully at his home on Monday, February 11, 2019. He was born December 27, 1929 in Rifle, Colorado to George E. and Maybell Sage.
By his sixth birthday, his family had moved from Rifle to Denver, CO. In 1948, he graduated from Denver North High School; he earned varsity letters in basketball and baseball. Immediately after graduation from high school, George enlisted in the United States Army. In 1950, shortly after North Korea invaded South Korea, George, then a member of the Infantry Division, was deployed to Korea where his division fought to defeat North Korea.
George was honorably discharged from the Army in October of 1951, and he enrolled in what was then Colorado State College. He was a member of the basketball and baseball teams. During his years on the CSC baseball team, it qualified three times for the College World Series in Omaha, NE. In one game, he was the winning pitcher against the University of Southern California. In his senior year, George received the Colorado State College Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award. Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree, George remained in Greeley to complete a Master’s Degree. After teaching and coaching three years, George was selected to be a Teaching Assistant at UCLA (University of California Los Angeles) where he completed his Doctorate Degree.
While at CSC, George met the love of his life, Liz (Amelie) Sage and married her August 20, 1955. They were married for 63 years.
Upon graduating from UCLA, George was hired as the head basketball coach at Pomona College in Claremont, CA, home of the Sagehens. After four years at Pomona College, George was hired as the head basketball coach at the University of Northern Colorado. During his five years of coaching basketball at UNC, the teams won the Rocky Mountain Conference Championships all five years, and the teams were chosen to play in three NCAA District Basketball Tournaments.
In order to devote more time for teaching, research, and writing, George resigned from coaching. George then turned to a career of teaching, writing, and research in sociology and psychology of sport. He published more than 50 articles in professional publications; he authored, co-authored, and edited 21 books including multiple editions of some. He recently finished his 11th edition of Sociology of North American Sport. He was president of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport, a society for which he was a founder, president of the National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education; he held Fellowship status in the American Academy of Kinesiology. He was inducted in the National Association for Sport and Physical Education Hall of Fame in 2006.
At the University of Northern Colorado, George was selected for the 1978 UNC Distinguished Scholar Award, and in 1987 was selected for the Lucile Harrison Outstanding Teaching Award. He was inducted into the UNC Athletic Hall of Fame three times: first as an individual, second as the coach of the 1965 basketball team, and third as a member of the 1955 baseball team. Also, at the annual UNC awards function for athletes, the UNC Athletic Department presents the George Sage Scholar-Athletic Award to the top senior, male athlete. In addition, George and Liz established the George and Liz Sage Endowed Scholarship at the University of Northern Colorado which will continue to provide financial assistance to UNC baseball and men’s basketball athletes who are achieving good grades and need financial support in order to continue with their sport and achieve the goal of graduating.
During his academic career, George was invited as a visiting professor at: The United States Military Academy at West Point, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, THAILAND, University of Jyvaskyla, Jyvaskyla, Finland, Eastern Washington University, Arizona University, and the University of Alabama.
George is survived by his wife, Liz Sage of Greeley; sons Mike (Kathy) Sage of Greeley and Larry Sage of Aurora; five grandchildren, Tyler (Ashlee) Sage of Aurora, Garrett (Liz) Sage of Wheat Ridge, Lucas Sage of Chicago, Elise Sage of Greenwood Village, and Stone Sage of Aurora; two great grandchildren, Braxton Sage of Aurora and Alexandria Sage of Wheat Ridge; as well as his sisters, Bonnie Grams (Leon) of Arvada, Bernice Williams of Brighton, and Patricia Vaughn of Northglenn.
He was proceeded in death by his parents George E. and Maybell Sage, his brother, William Sage, his sister, Helen Rasmussen, and his brothers-in-law Thor Rasmussen and Charles Vaughn.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 2:00 P.M. on Thursday, February 21, 2019 at the Allnutt Macy Chapel with a reception in the Allnutt Reception Center to follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the University of Northern Colorado Men’s Basketball and Baseball programs or the Guadalupe Community Center. Donations may be made in care of Allnutt Funeral Service 702 13th St., Greeley, CO 80631.
University of Northern Colorado Men's Basketball and Baseball programs
c/o Allnutt - Macy Chapel 702 13th Street , Greeley, CO 80631
Guadalupe Community Center
c/o Allnutt - Macy Chapel 702 13th Street , Greeley, CO 80631
- Celebration of Life Thursday, February 21, 2019
George Harvey Sage
May 7, 2019
I was so sorry to read in the UNC magazine that Dr. Sage had passed away. He was a wonderful teacher and mentor. I was a student pursuing a Masters degree in physical education during the 1970 – 1971 school year. I enjoyed his classes not only for the content but the special way Dr. Sage taught his classes. He was friendly, approachable and took an interest in all his students.
In 1975 I applied for and was accepted into a special program that merged adapted physical education, therapeutic recreation and special education. Upon arriving at UNC I realized that the program was non-existent. I immediately sought out Dr. Sage who helped me look at my options. One possibility was to pursue a doctorate in physical education which meant I had to take an exam and be accepted into the program. He arranged for the exam and I ended up in the doctoral program taking as many pertinent classes as possible during that school year. Dr. Sage wrote a wonderful recommendation for me and I ended up at the University of Oregon with a teaching fellowship. I will always be grateful to him for his assistance that year.
While I was at the U of O Dr. Sage and I attended the same conference. I was pleased and humbled that he chose to have lunch with me. The U of O professors were quite jealous.
My heart goes out to Liz and their family. Dr. Sage was an incredible individual and I know he is greatly missed.
April 12, 2019
While working on my doctorate in sport administration at UNC, I was fortunate to have Dr. George Sage as a professor for Sociology of Sport and History of Sport. He also served on my doctoral dissertation committee, which had a sports policy focus.
George had a huge impact on my life. I entered the doctoral sport administration program at UNC totally naive to many of the socio-cultural issues in the world of sport. I graduated with a much better understanding of those issues as well as knowledge of the sports policymaking process in this country.
I spent a lot of time with George and they weren't always smooth times. We argued quite a bit about a variety of topics and issues. He asked me to make significant changes to my doctoral dissertation, which upset me greatly at the time. But after completing the tasks I realized that his suggestions made my dissertation much stronger. He helped me leave UNC a better writer, researcher, analyst, and most importantly, person.
Later, as I took a variety of jobs in the sports world, including sports policy-related jobs, my appreciation for George and what he taught me increased significantly. I continued to meet with him for lunch on occasion and talk with him by phone. He consistently would give me good advice.
I am sure I wouldn't be in the position I am today -- Sports Policy Director for League of Fans, a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader -- without having George in my life. He inspired me to work to make the world of sports a better place by enhancing the positives and mitigating the negatives.
I am grateful for my time with George and thank him for all the effort and energy he put into my education and career. I also want to thank Liz for being a friendly, gracious host on several occasions when I visited George at their home.
What a great career George! Job well done! Rest in peace.
Ken Reed, Ed.D.
February 15, 2019
To Liz, Mike, Larry and the Sage family:
On behalf of my entire family, I want to express our sincere condolences on this sad occasion. Our parents, Bob and Donna Montgomery were close to the Sages, both personally and professionally. Dad had the highest respect for George and often spoke of him as one of the coaches and academics he most fervently admired. He told me once that “one George Sage was worth more to the education of UNC students than a dozen lesser teachers.” And their fondness for Liz was equally strong. On more than a few occasions, they cited your parents as role models to be emulated and revered. To put it simply, George Sage was the kind of educator every parent hopes will be a part of their child’s academic experience. He will be missed but more important, he will be remembered.
Min Seok Ahn
February 14, 2019
My lovely mom Liz,
I'm so sorry for your loss, and I’m sad that my mentor and father George Sage is no longer in this world.
Since 1990, he has been a significant person in my life, as an academic and as a policy-maker.
I’ve been carrying on his philosophy as a sport sociologist and scholarly legacy into Korean sport and to enhance North-South Korean relations. I greatly appreciate his true mentorship and life lessons. I’m really proud that I was his student.
I’m sending you a big hug and love, Liz.
Minseok Ahn, A member of Korean National Assembly/ George Sage's student
February 13, 2019
Liz, Mike and Larry-
I am so sorry that I will not be in Colorado on the 21st. I have such fond memories of Thanksgiving at your house and how George was so generous and comforable with kids. I am greatful that Liz and George were able to attend my wedding party in Colorado.
All of my love, Kristen Allott