Jeff Gausepohl, From the Virginia Military Institute, was coach of the men`s basketball team of the Republic of Korea from 1967 to 1968. He played college basketball and was assigned to Korea an officer after graduating. While Gausepohl served as a team coach, they accomplished results such as runners-up the Universiad, the Asian Men`s Basketball Championships in 1967 and advanced to Mexican Olympic finals in 1968. USFK arranged many trips on military planes to the US for preparing the 1968 Mexico Olympics. (Excerpt from Huh Jinsuk for The Korean Journal of History for Physcial Education and Sports)
Gausepohl was instrumental in readying Korean players to compete on the world stage. According to Shin Dong Pa, a legendary Korean basketball player and long time national team coach, Korean National Team would frequently practiced inside Yongsan Garrison, Camp Redcloud, and Osan Airbase against the US soliders. And the best part of loosing to the American counter part was that they would be treated with steak and bread. He greatly appreciated and acknowledge USFK’s role in advancing Korean Basketball. Still many pro basketball teams play against US soldiers to test new game strategies and for fun. (From interview with Shin Dong Pa by Um Ju Yeop, Munhwa Newspaper)
A former counterintelligence officer who became a senior adviser to 14 U.S. Forces Korea commanders and spent six decades in South Korea… “Mr. Steve Bradner is a unique national treasure for both the United States and [South Korea],” Thurman said during Bradner’s retirement ceremony.
Bradner’s fondness swayed Park Shin-ja, who at the time was a South Korean basketball star, to take his hand in marriage. Marcus Fichtl, Starts and Stripes Park Shin-Ja dominated Asian basketball for over a decade. In recognition of her contribution to the game, she was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class in 1999.
“I started basketball when I was in the seventh grade,” Park said at the time. “It was 1953, after the Korean War. There was nothing much to eat. Nothing much to play with.”
For Park, her introduction to basketball proved life changing. “One day, I had the chance to shoot a basket,” she said. “I did not know what it was called. But the feel that I had at my fingertips – the ball up into air and through the rim and through the basket. That was so exciting to me. And it became my life.” (Excerpt from Passiton.tbf.org.tr)
She continues to work with the Basketball League and young players to give them hopes and dreams. She’s a true role model for Korean Basketball.