Chet Giermak

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Chet Giermak
Personal information
Born(1927-05-25)May 25, 1927
Chicago, Illinois
DiedMarch 16, 2015(2015-03-16) (aged 87)
Erie, Pennsylvania
Listed height6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Career information
High schoolLindblom Tech (Chicago, Illinois)
CollegeWilliam & Mary (1946–1950)
NBA draft1950 / Round: 4 / Pick: 45th overall
Selected by the Rochester Royals
Career highlights and awards

Chester Frank (Chet) Giermak (May 25, 1927 – March 16, 2015) was an All-American basketball player for William & Mary from 1946 to 1950.[1]

High school[edit]

Prior to matriculating at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, Giermak attended Lindblom Technical High School in Chicago, Illinois, where he was a four-year stand-out center on the basketball team.[2] In 1945, Giermak's senior year, he led Lindblom to the semi-finals of the All-Chicago high school basketball tournament and earned Second Team All-City for the center position.[3] In April 1945, Chet enlisted into the Navy, where he spent the next 14 months serving as a corpsman.[3]


After arriving on William & Mary's campus in September 1946, one year removed from high school, Chet Giermak was not a heralded basketball prospect. He began his collegiate career as a walk-on player, asking for a uniform from varsity coach Dick Gallagher (whom he later credited with teaching him "the finer points of the game").[3][4] He made the junior varsity team but did not stay on it long. During the team's first intra-squad game, Gallagher noticed Chet's ability and immediately promoted him to the Tribe's varsity team.[4]

Over the next four seasons, Giermak was consistently the nation's top scorer or close to it, using his lanky frame and deadly hookshot to amass myriad points.[1][3][4] He recorded back-to-back seasons during his junior and senior years where he averaged 20+ points (21.8 and 20.8, respectively).[5] On January 13, 1949, Chet scored 45 points against the University of Baltimore, establishing a new Blow Gymnasium record.[6] This total set the all-time Virginia state collegiate mark, plus the national, conference, and state individual single game marks for the 1948–49 college basketball season.[6] All of those records have since been broken. Seton Hall University's coach and basketball legend John "Honey" Russell once praised Chet's abilities by noting, "[t]his Giermak is better than Tony Lavelli."[1]

Chester Giermak's 111-game career and its achievements earned him a spot in the William & Mary Hall of Fame.[5] He is ranked among the all-time statistical leaders in many categories,[5] and some of Giermak's more notable accomplishments include:[1][3][5][7]

  • 4 years All-State
  • 3 seasons All-Southern Conference
  • 2 years as team captain
  • Numerous All-America honors (1950)
  • 2,052 career points (second all-time at W&M)
    • Giermak's career mark was set in 1950. It stood for 65 years – the longest-lasting NCAA Division I school record in the nation at the time it was broken by Marcus Thornton on February 25, 2015.[8]
  • 740 single season points in 1948–49 (school record)
  • His jersey number (#32) was retired years later

In the 1950 NBA draft, the Rochester Royals selected Giermak as their ninth pick in the 4th round (45th overall)[9] Though he was drafted, Chet never made the team's final cut and thus never played in an actual NBA game.

Giermak died on March 16, 2015 in Erie, Pennsylvania due to complications from a stroke.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d William & Mary Flat Hat student newspaper; March 7, 1950 issue. Accessed April 2, 2008.
  2. ^ William & Mary Flat Hat student newspaper; December 13, 1949 issue. Accessed April 2, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e William & Mary Flat Hat student newspaper; February 4, 1947 issue. Accessed April 2, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c William & Mary Flat Hat student newspaper; February 3, 1948 issue. Accessed April 2, 2008.
  5. ^ a b c d 2007–08 W&M men's basketball media guide Archived July 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed April 2, 2008.
  6. ^ a b William & Mary Flat Hat student newspaper; January 18, 1949 issue. Accessed April 2, 2008.
  7. ^ VaSID Div. I Men's Basketball Records Archived 2011-06-06 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed April 2, 2008.
  8. ^ "Tarpey, Thornton propel William & Mary past Towson 65–50". ESPN Internet Ventures. February 25, 2015. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  9. ^ 1950 NBA Draft on Archived 2010-01-17 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed April 2, 2008.
  10. ^ "1940s W&M basketball star Chet Giermak dies at age 87". The Virginia Gazette. March 16, 2015. Retrieved March 16, 2015.