Prime Minister Stephen Harper recognized the efforts of Pitt Meadows secondary basketball coach Rich Goulet on Friday.
He was one of 17 recipients from across Canada to receive one of the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards, at a ceremony in Ottawa. The awards are handed out to recipients from five regions, and Goulet was chosen as a community leader for B.C. and the North.
Goulet has been a high school basketball coach since 1965, including a decade at Saint Thomas More, followed by 33 years at Pitt Meadows. His teams won provincial titles at the triple A level in 1989 and 2000, and the double A level in 1983.
He has been the coach of provincial teams, and coached both Steve Nash and his brother Marty with the national team.
He founded and administered the Steve Nash Youth Basketball League in Pitt Meadows.
In April he was inducted into the Basketball B.C. Hall of Fame.
Leroy Severinski and his brother Kevin played for Goulet in the mid-1980s, and he said former Pitt players always describe that time as some of the best years of their lives.
Kevin is still at the school as a coach, and Leroy coached Nashball. Leroy’s son Trevor was a star player for Goulet, and went on to Canada West competition at the University of Saskatchewan.
The Severinski family’s long association with Goulet has fostered a real appreciation of the man.
“My son has big respect for Rich,” said Leroy. “He instilled principles and values that carry on beyond basketball.
“There are basic, fundamental standards that haven’t changed in 40 years.”
He doesn’t see Goulet slowing down.
“He’s still got the fire and the competitiveness. He wants to have a great program.”
Pitt Meadows principal Dennis Dickson said the secret to his athletic director’s success is an unlimited work ethic. “Titanic,” is how the federal government described it in a press release.
“It comes down to his dedication. He is without doubt one of the hardest working people I know,” said Dickson. “He gives up, I imagine, all of his free time doing things for the community.”
The press release also noted that Goulet is “famed locally for repainting the lines on the basketball court after each cleaning.
“He teaches by example that there is no task too small to do well, whether it’s collecting garbage after a tournament or handwriting receipts. Though basketball is his passion, Mr. Goulet encourages players at every age and skill level to participate in sports of all kinds. His fundraising prowess benefits myriad teams and arts and cultural groups within the school and community. He coaches his own school’s teams as well as regional and provincial squads; his clinics, camps and tournaments have made Pitt Meadows a basketball mecca. Mr. Goulet’s programs have run for more than 40 years and his mentoring has left a lasting impression, promoting volunteerism and involvement long after students have graduated.”
Although Goulet has not yet been back to Pitt Meadows to receive the congratulations of his co-workers, Dickson said everyone is impressed that he received such a prestigious award.
“It’s huge. He’s had a great year in terms of being recognized,” said Dickson.
“He seems just to take it all in stride. He doesn’t talk about it. He’s on to the next practice.”
Goulet was not available to comment. After meeting the prime minister on Friday, he immediately jetted off on his bi-annual trip to Hawaii for the Lahaina Christmas Tournament.