Rich Goulet receives a volunteer award from then Prime Minister Stephen Harper. (Contributed)

Rich Goulet receives a volunteer award from then Prime Minister Stephen Harper. (Contributed)

Letters: ‘Rich Goulet is Pitt Meadows’

Too late to take back decision; Goulet upset many parents; age of reduced expectations.

Editor, The News:

Re: Hall-of-fame Pitt Meadows basketball coach ‘fired.’

To quote Sunset Boulevard: “A great star has great pride” – and, thus, it’s almost certainly too late to take back this ridiculous decision. But perhaps a silver lining from it is the chance for Rich Goulet to hear the accolades he so richly deserves.

Having attended Pitt Meadows secondary from 1980-85, I know first-hand the extent to which the school was a wasteland both athletically and academically prior to Mr. Goulet’s arrival.

Thus, it is not at all hyperbole for me to suggest there is no factor which contributed more to the quality of education or school experience of 39 years of Pitt Meadows students than the presence of this man in their midst.

In an age when teachers are cynically derided as being in it for the (supposedly short) hours, from detractors and admirers alike, the only real criticism of coach Goulet was that he ‘cared too much’ – about the students, about providing them the tools to succeed, about forging people of the caliber necessary to build a community.

Truth is, in my younger years, I used to wonder why a professional so elite as to have won three provincial championships didn’t move on to ‘bigger and better’ things?

The best answer I can come up with is that, in his heart, he’s known for a long time that he is Pitt Meadows – but even more so, that forever into the future, Pitt Meadows will be Rich Goulet.

Mike Shields

Maple Ridge

‘Whole story’

Editor, The News:

Re: Hall-of-fame Pitt Meadows basketball coach ‘fired.’

I will open with the fact that my three children did not play basketball. Having lived in Pitt Meadows for 30 years and having my children graduate from Pitt Meadows secondary, I, and so many others, have a different opinion of Rich Goulet than your article assumes.

He is very well liked by parents whose children actually played during the game. But ask the parents whose kids worked every bit as hard, but had very little game time and you will get a different opinion.

Mr. Goulet has had many parents upset with his methods, both in basketball and in his teaching over many, many years.

So much of his ‘teaching’ time was dedicated to basketball that he was on the phone rather than teaching.

His rants to the players are legendary in Pitt Meadows and finally someone stood up to him and told him it was time to retire.

There have been many, many complaints from parents throughout the years, but since he was a teacher, little could be done.

Yes, his teams won three B.C. provincial championships, which is incredible. But at what cost to all the players who didn’t play through all the other years in his quest to win?

His basketball dedication is unquestioned and the amount of time he put in is unbelievable, and I respect him for that. But he is in charge of young children who were yelled at and made to feel inadequate for so many years. Your article assumes that everyone respected him, but that’s not the whole story.

Bob Johnson

Maple Ridge

‘He deserves a parade’

Editor, The News:

Re: Hall-of-fame Pitt Meadows basketball coach ‘fired.’

I lived in Pitt Meadows in the 1980s and ’90s, and during my time there, the Marauders were always at or near the top of the rankings in provincial basketball.

It was always interesting following the progress of the senior boys team, which was always in the hunt. I would challenge anyone to go the gym at Pitt and look at the banners that hang there.

While he was blessed with good players, the real reason the team did so well was the expectation of excellence from coach Goulet.

He was an aggressive, loud, in-your-face coach who demanded 100 per cenrt from the players.

I only saw him coach a few times and it was always the same – he didn’t lie to them, he told them what to do, whether they liked it or not.

I would wager that many of the kids who played for him over the years didn’t liked being yelled at when they made a mistake, but they worked harder and did better for it.

I would also wager that those same kids felt enormous pride when they battled to the end of the year, champions or not, knowing that they left it all on the floor, thanks, in part, to the demands of the coach.

The outpouring of messages, including one from Steve Nash, would confirm that.

I don’t know for sure why Mr. Goulet was ‘fired,’ but, if it was a group of complaining parents who didn’t like their boys being yelled at to do better in basketball, that would be a tragedy.

Mr. Goulet deserves a parade for his long, dedicated service to the Pitt Meadows community. He is one of those people we all want to be, a man who made a difference.

To go out like this is disgusting. He is a treasure.

Eric Lauridsen

Maple Ridge