Of all the tributes paid to Jack George for his athletic prowess, Time magazine had the most appropriate when it called the Washington native the "Boy Wonder of the Nation's Capital" on one of its 1947 covers. George was pictured dribbling a basketball, throwing a baseball, tossing a football and swinging a tennis racket. George, a multisport star at St. John's College High School in the late 1940s, died this month after a short bout with cancer in North Fort Myers, Fla., at the age of 60. Jack George was much more than a two-way player, and some longtime observers of local high school sports say he may have been the greatest all-around athlete ever in the Washington area. Said Joe Gallagher, who coached him at St. John's: "I've coached some greats of the game but Jack George was the best athlete, all-round, here in the city. I'd like to get another Jack George before I quit." Reminiscing about the athlete he coached in baseball, basketball and football, Gallagher recalled the day his versatile star made his mark on yet another sport. "It was near the end of baseball season and our track coach said he needed someone for the field events," Gallagher said. "I asked Jack if he had ever pole vaulted and he said no, but he was willing to try. It was his first meet ever and he placed third in the event." An All-Metropolitan pick in three sports at St. John's, George attended Notre Dame on a football scholarship, but returned to the East to stay when his mother became ill. Gallagher called friends at La Salle in Philadelphia about George enrolling there. "It was a Christian Brothers school, like St. John's," Gallagher said. "Plus, it gave me a chance to go to the Palestra and see him play once in a while." George's collegiate career was shortened due to his transfer from Notre Dame and service in the U.S. Army. Yet he made his mark, earning national recognition in both basketball and baseball at La Salle. George applied his athletic trademark to military duty during 1951-53, earning the Army's most outstanding player award. Stationed at Fort Belvoir, he played baseball with Al Davis, owner-to-be of the Los Angeles Raiders, and Dick Groat, who would star for the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals. But according to his lifelong friend Jim Phelan, now basketball coach at Mount St. Mary's, there was a human side to this star that often superseded athletics. "His basketball team at Fort Belvoir was in the finals one year," Phelan said, "but Jack got married and couldn't play. Without Jack, his team was eliminated in no time." After military service, George played for the Philadelphia Warriors and New York Knickerbockers in an eight-year National Basketball Association career. He was as well known for his passing as his shooting, and in 1955-56 helped lead the Warriors to the NBA title. While calling George his closest friend, Phelan remained in awe of his athletic ability. "I remember when he was playing Class A ball for Lancaster, he hit a home run off Don Newcombe that went 500 feet," Phelan said. "But Jack couldn't hit the curve -- that's the only thing, some say, that kept him out of the big leagues. "He was a superb athlete," Phelan remembered. "He even beat the tennis star Tony Trabert in a 16-and-under tournament in Washington. I asked him where he picked up the game and he said on the playground." Phelan laughed when he thought of the way George would every now and then shift priorities. "I remember he took off a baseball game to come to my wedding," Phelan said. "He woke up the next day to leave and it was raining and he said the heck with it, I'll stay, maybe the game will be called." Said Gallagher, "For all his ability, he was very humble, and not a braggadocio. He got along well with teachers, classmates, with everybody." After his retirement from basketball in 1961, George moved to Illinois, where he became a sales consultant for an office machine company. In 1986, he moved to Florida. His fiancee, Pat Zimmerman, recalls him as simply enjoyable. "He was very humble," she said. "No one down here knew of his sports career. He liked to golf, eat out, dance. He was all-round fun." Said Phelan: "Joe Gallagher put it right. Jack wasn't quite as good a basketball player as Elgin Baylor, but he was the greatest all-round athlete from Washington."