Gerard to return to UVa. to discuss addiction, recovery
Story by Chris Graham
I remember telling a 1970s-era UVa. basketball player that I was interviewing for the book Mad About U: Four Decades of Basketball at University Hall that I had tracked down Gus Gerard, the Cavalier star who famously left school early for the ABA just before what would have been his senior season in 1974.
“Where did you find him? In drug rehab?” the player asked me.
Well, not exactly. Gerard had graduated from rehab to a position as chief executive officer of Extended Aftercare Inc., a Houston-based residential-treatment program for men with addictions.
Gerard, an All-ACC second-team performer in 1974 after averaging 20.8 points per game for the ‘Hoos, fell into alcohol and cocaine use and abuse as a pro-basketball player, eventually blowing through the $2 million that he earned in the ABA and NBA and even attempting suicide before getting his life in order.
Gerard will be back on Grounds on Monday to deliver a talk, “The Long Way Home: Former UVa. and NBA Player Gus Gerard’s Path to Recovery,” at 7 p.m. in the Newcomb Hall Ballroom.
The visit will be Gerard’s first return to Charlottesville since 1986.
The talk is being presented by Hoos in Recovery, an organization of students, alumni, faculty and staff recovering from addictions, with assistance from the UVa. Department of Athletics, the Office of the Dean of Students, the Center for Alcohol and Substance Abuse Education, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, and the Intra-Fraternity and Intra-Sorority councils.
Admission is free.