It’s been a year of near constant accolades for Pitt Meadows Marauders Air Force coach Rich Goulet, and it’s not over yet.
On April 21, the longtime local basketball coach will be inducted into Basketball B.C.’s hall of fame in recognition of his 43 years as a high school coach.
Goulet is one of the few coaches inducted into the hall of fame who have spent their entire career at the high school level.
“The only other person I can think of is Bill Disbrow, who won five B.C. championships with Richmond High,” says Lawrie Johns, executive director of Basketball B.C.
Johns said this was Goulet’s first year of eligibility, and it was a no-brainer to have him inducted.
“He’s done just about everything you can do at high school basketball,” he says. “But it’s not just longevity, its about results.”
Goulet was three B.C. titles to his credit, and was the first high school coach to win a provincial championship at both the AA and AAA level.
Earlier this season, Goulet marked his 1,000th win as coach of the Pitt Meadows senior boys’ basketball team. The Marauders went on to post their winningest season in school history this year, winning the Fraser Valley Championships in the process.
In all, Goulet estimates he’s coached close to 4,000 games, taking into account the games he’s coached at the Grade 8, Grade 9, and junior level, as well as with St. Thomas More, Basketball B.C.’s provincial teams, the Steve Nash League, and spring league exhibition play.
With the Pitt seniors, he’s coached more 1,500 games, maintaining a win percentage of more than 60 per cent.
Johns said Goulet received and “exceptional” number of nominations for his induction.
“It’s a pretty big honour,” says Goulet.
“I go every year to the awards banquet, and I didn’t think I would be up there while I’m still coaching.”
For Goulet, the award is further recognition of the countless hours he’s spent coaching the boys of Pitt Meadows, many of whom have grown up to have children of their own and still live in the community.
However, he says the biggest satisfaction he gets as a coach is running into his old players, and seeing the success they’ve had in life.
“At the provincial finals this year one of my old players was sitting behind the bench and gave me a note after the game thanking me for pushing him to be better,” says Goulet. “It means a lot to know that what you do has an impact.”
The key to Goulet’s coaching philosophy has always been to hold his players accountable, and not just accept “good enough.” While it may be difficult for many teenagers to understand that at the time, the lessons pay dividends down the road.
“If they are willing to work hard, and put in that effort, they have have success,” he says. “That’s a quality they pick up playing for me, and it pays off in life. It’s not what they remember right away, but years later they realize where that [quality] came from.
“All I ask of them is to love what they are doing. Otherwise, what’s the point?”
As a dedicated teacher coach, Goulet is a vanishing breed, says Johns.
Only 50 per cent of high school teams have teacher coaches, and that number is getting smaller every year, he says. Teacher coaches provide more stability for school sports programs than community coaches, and every year there are fewer teachers willing and able to take the reins from the older generation.
But while his teaching career may be nearing its end, Goulet says he doesn’t have any plans to retire from the hardwood.
“I know I’m still going to coach for a while, wether I’m teaching or not,” he says. “It’s what I do.”
Also being inducted to the hall of fame this year will be SFU women’s coach Bruce Langford, builders John Bius and Dan Miscisco, referee Dean MacKinnon, former UVic player player Tracie Sibbald, and the 1972/73 UBC women’s team.
• The Basketball B.C. awards banquet takes place Saturday, April 21, at the Langley Events Centre banquet hall. For tickets, visit www.basketball.bc.ca.