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Feb. 16, 2012
MVP, ACC, NCAA, M.D., WNBA, MHSc. If she keeps it up, Georgia Schweitzer Beasley will run through the entire alphabet one of these years.
Duke's 2012 ACC Legend in women's basketball hasn't hit her mid-30s yet, and she is already a medical doctor with a specialty in cancer research; a wife and mom; a juggler who coached in winters and played in summers; and an important figure in ACC hoop history.
"Take advantage of every opportunity to learn," she said, having clearly earned the right to offer such advice.
She came to Duke from her native Ohio in 1997, when the Blue Devil program was solid but not yet a national phenomenon. The Devils had never been past the NCAA Tournament's second round and had never had a first-team All-American to that point.
Everything began to change in 1999. Thanks to a 15-1 record in regular-season ACC play, Duke earned assignment to the NCAA's East region, which had its semifinals and finals an hour from campus in Greensboro, N.C. The Elite Eight game paired Duke with Tennessee, the three-time defending NCAA champion. Schweitzer, a 6-foot sophomore guard, played most of the night head-to-head against Lady Vol senior Chamique Holdsclaw, the eventual four-time first-team All-American who had already surpassed 3,000 career points.
Schweitzer poured in 22 points as the Blue Devils surprised the sport and heralded their arrival on the national stage with a Final Four appearance. They would defeat another SEC power, Georgia, in the national semifinals before falling to Purdue. That night in 1999 began establishing the Greensboro Coliseum as Duke's second home court. The program would win the next five ACC Tournaments on that floor and Schweitzer would go on to significant personal achievement.
She was named ACC Player of the Year in 2000 and 2001 and earned All-American citation from six sources, one of which, the United States Basketball Writers Association, made her a first-team choice, in her senior season. Schweitzer's play helped lift Duke out of sleeping giant status, but her story was far from done.
In the summers of 2001-03, she played a total of 70 games for the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx. After all of those seasons, she returned to her alma mater to serve as an assistant coach. But as much as she loved basketball, the game couldn't deter her from her ultimate professional aspiration.
Schweitzer entered Duke's medical school in 2004, received her degree in 2008 and enrolled in a Master's degree program in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health in 2010. In that capacity, she is performing cancer research.
Married to Jonathan Beasley since 2006, she became a mom with the arrival of Reid Beasley on April 2, 2011. So it's reasonable to say Georgia Schweitzer Beasley is one of the busiest people on the planet. Now if she can just figure out how to add 'Z' to the titles and awards on the resume, she'll really be set.