Richmond schools honour coaching excellence

By Don Fennell

Published 9:45 PDT, Fri June 30, 2017

Last Updated: 2:12 PDT, Wed May 12, 2021

Ken Black sat quietly in the rotunda at Burnett Secondary School, overwhelmed by the memories of a 30-year coaching career that’s come to an end.

Honoured June 27 at the Richmond Secondary Schools Athletics Association’s coaches banquet with the prestigious Bill Goodman Memorial Award for coaching excellence, Black is quickly reminded of the countless hours he dedicated to help students realize their athletic aspirations.

Whether it was coaching volleyball or track and field, he challenged his athletes to be the best they could be.

“Win because you can” was his motto.

Also retiring from his career as a science teacher, Black continually demonstrated the qualities embodied by the man for whom the Bill Goodman Memorial Award is named—unselfishness, a caring demeanour, dedication, and a recognizable motivation to instil in athletes the principles of sportsmanship, fair play and the pursuit of excellence.

Bill Riach was also given a special recognition award for his 30-plus years of coaching, which has included coaching multiple teams during the same season.

“He simply doesn’t believe in cutting kids,” Burnett vice-principal John Blair said of Riach, who is retiring from teaching but will retain his coaching hat.

Trish Nicholson was the third individual to be honoured for coaching 30 years in the Richmond School District. The longtime McRoberts teacher and coach is much-respected and much-decorated throughout the sports community for her numerous contributions and successes.

Last, but not least, longtime basketball coach Paul Eberhardt added yet another honour to his ever-expanding trophy case, too. The Palmer senior boys’ basketball coach was presented with the Richmond Secondary Schools Athletics Association’s Outstanding Coaching Achievement Award.

The colourful and passionate Eberhardt was taken aback by the award, presented by his longtime friend and coaching colleague Jon Acob. Acob’s first foray into coaching basketball was as Eberhardt’s assistant coach.

A teacher at, and head coach of Palmer’s senior boys’ basketball team, since 2005, Eberhardt guided the Griffins to the B.C. AAA championship in 2011. Former president of Basketball BC, he is also the longtime coach of the Langara Falcons and coached the college’s men’s team to a national title in 2014.

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