Coach's Corner

Coach’s Corner – Spring 2018

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Courtesy of Philip Iver, George Brown Department of Athletics and Recreation.

Giving back to the community

BY: JONATHAN SMITH

When looking back at how my coaching career began in September of 1988; even though it seems so long ago, it’s still so very vivid in my mind.

At the age of 19, in my first year at York University, I was fortunate enough to have been invited to run youth programs out of the Driftwood Community Recreation Centre and work with an amazing group of kids.

And so, it began. Coaching basketball became a vehicle to keep the kids off the street and an avenue to fulfill my passion of working with youth.

It was over time and building strong ties in the community that opened the door to coaching for 23 years in the Toronto District  School Board at five fantastic schools.  The greatest memory of my high school coaching years was winning the first two 4A OFSAA Championships 2002/2003 as head coach of the Eastern Commerce Saints.

Over the years, I have been given great opportunities to coach with the Ontario Basketball Association in development programs, as well as the U15 provincial program.

What great memories I have working as an assistant and head coach for Team Ontario and winning four National Championships in a row. It was one of the most amazing experiences I have had as a coach to date. Having had the opportunity to travel this great country and walk out under the Ontario flag.  Being a part of the incredible journey over several months with a group of talented young men to reach a common goal.  The bonds and friendships we created will last a lifetime.

People have always asked me why I would volunteer so much time over the years.  To them I say, I was one of the lucky ones.  For my entire athletic and early coaching career I had two parents and other family always giving me unconditional love and support.  It became a mission of mine to provide the same support as a way of giving back as I had been so incredibly blessed.

In 2012, I started my college coaching career at George Brown College. Two key elements that I brought and continue to preach are family and unconditional support.  I fervently believe that these values have changed the culture and shaped our program.

Over the last six years there have been so many memorable moments like winning OCAA Coach of the Year, being OCAA East Division Champions and OCAA Silver Medalists.

But the most memorable was last year qualifying for the CCAA National Championship for the first time in 41 years. To look into the eyes of Albert DaSilva and Val Pozzan, two men that were part of the last team that qualified was exceedingly special.

At the age of 48, I have been extremely lucky.  They say that coaches enhance the lives of their players, but I can honestly say, it is the other way around.

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