STRATFORD - Four retired high school teachers and long-time basketball coaches were honoured Tuesday night at St. Michael secondary school.
The event was the 2014 Huron-Perth Junior and Senior girls all-star games.
The H-P Athletic Association and St. Mikes S.S. wanted to pay tribute to Andy Hairsine, Jim Hurley, Chris Coulthard and Terry O’Rourke for their outstanding contributions to basketball in this region over many years.
All four men received plaques in a ceremony between games.
Hairsine, a St. Marys area resident, was a teacher with the AMDSB for over 30 years and coached at Mitchell and St. Marys DCVI. As a coach, Hairsine was known as ‘Mr. Basketball.’
It was noted that he has won at every level as a coach.
The highlight of his high-school career was the OFSAA gold he and the Senior Saluki boys won in Tecumseh in 2004. He coached his son Ryan that memorable season.
This past season, Hairsine and co-coach Gregg Blackler helped guide the Jr. girls Salukis to the H-P championship. He is also an assistant coach with the University of Waterloo Warriors.
Hurley began his teaching and coaching career 45 years ago at George Vanier secondary school in North York. He then brought his talents to Stratford, where he taught and coached at all three city high schools.
In 28 years at St. Mikes, Hurley guided teams to numerous H-P and WOSSAA titles, and has been a participant in six OFSAA championships.
This fall, he and Steve Goforth guided the St. Mikes Senior girls to their third consecutive WOSSAA title. The two men have now coached 10 years together.
Coulthard developed his love of basketball as a player in Tillsonburg before bringing it to coaching. His name is synonymous with basketball in his home town.
Coulthard was honoured with the OFSAA School Sports Award in 2013, following 34 years of coaching basketball—including 20 years at F.E. Madill in Wingham.
O’Rourke coached basketball at Exeter South Huron for 35 years (1975 to 2010). During that time, he enjoyed considerable on-court success as he shared his passion for the game with boys and girls teams at all levels.
O’Rourke ran clinics in Exeter for all the feeder schools. He was unable to attend last Tuesday’s games.
The two games
The two all-star games featured all players from the Huron-Perth Conference.
Hairsine and Coulthard coached their Junior girls squad to a 34-21 victory over a team coached by Hurley and Gregg Blackler.
Lauren Bailey, of Stratford Central, scored nine points for the winning side. Selena Reitsma, of Goderich, added seven points, and Delayna Smith, of Clinton St. Anne’s, six more. Guard Abbey Thorup, of St. Marys DCVI, had four points.
Mia Valcke, of St. Mikes had a game-high 13 points in a losing cause. Valcke may have provided the highlight of the night when she tossed in a three-point bomb from half-court at the final buzzer.
Emily Bloemberg, of F.E. Madill, added four points and Jensen Dundas, of St. Marys, three.
In the Senior girls game, coaches Hurley and Phil Connolly, of Exeter, guided their squad to a comeback 47-36 win over a team coached by Hairsine and Goforth.
Pacing a well-balanced scoring attack for the winning side was South Huron Panthers’ Marley Vendrig, who finished with nine points. Taylor Grasby, of St. Mikes, and South Huron’s Rachelle Parent contributed eight points apiece.
In her final high-school game, Central star Ashley Wheeler had a game-high 12 points in a losing cause. Shauna Simpson, of St. Marys, added nine points, while Amber DeLaFranier, of Central, had seven.