One of the most prestigious basketball tournaments in the province has been named for Rich Goulet.
Saint Thomas More’s Chancellor Tournament, which is both a long-running event and one of the great tourneys outside of the provincials, is now called the Rich Goulet Memorial Chancellor Tournament.
Goulet passed away March 28 at the age of 74.
Before he coached for 38 years at Pitt Meadows secondary and became a high school hoops legend in B.C., Goulet’s considerable energy was at STM in Burnaby. Aaron Mitchell, the present senior boys coach, said it wasn’t a fast decision to rename the tourney, but Goulet’s tight connection to the school made it the right decision.
Goulet was the first valedictorian at STM in the graduating class of 1964. His legacy is that there remains a $2,500 scholarship in his name to recognize an unsung hero – the scholarship is for someone who “does everything for others without a thought of self interest.”
After high school graduation, while he was still studying to become a teacher at SFU and doing his professional development, Goulet came back to STM as a coach. He took the senior boys to two provincial championships at the single A level.
He then went to Pitt Meadows, won three more B.C. championships, and as far as other coaches around the province are concerned, put the school on the map.
Mitchell played at Terry Fox in Port Coquitlam, and remember’s Goulet’s teams with their “notorious” jackets with “Pitt” on the back, and the players with team bags and gear the likes of which wasn’t seen outside of elite U.S. high school programs. They were fierce competitors, and Goulet was loud on the sidelines.
Then Mitchell got to know him as a friend when he became a coach, and came to appreciate the work he put into not only making his teams competitive, but taking them to places like Maui and California. Goulet gave his players great experiences, and 30 years later they still have those Pitt jackets, he said.
Mitchell said he worked with Goulet on the provincial under-17 team one year, both of them as assistant coaches, and remembers Goulet advocating for the younger coach to get involved with running drills and in other ways.
“He loved the competitive side of things, but also creating memories for other people, and he gained a lot of joy from doing it.”
Mitchell weighed in on the debate of whether the Pitt Meadows secondary gym should be named for Goulet, despite it going against school board policy. He said the late coach is one of only three or four people in the province deserving of such an honour, because of his “deep legacy.”
As of Monday, 4,400 people have signed a petition at change.org to rename the gym.
Mitchell is on the executive of the BC High School Boys Basketball Association, and said they will be looking for other ways to memorialize Goulet.
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