Faye Gaudet

Faye Gaudet

In 1965, Faye Gaudet began her sporting career as the bat girl with the Coverdale Aces. The following year she began playing Fastball and has continued to be on the diamond ever since in both a player and coaching capacity.

Faye was a member of the Provincial Championship Bantam B Fastball team in 1970 and in 1975 and 1976. Faye played on the Cobourg Angels Junior B Ontario Championship Team. Running concurrently, Faye began her own Fastball coaching career, winning a Bantam B Ontario Championship in 1977, leading the same team to the Silver Medalists of the Bantam A division in 1978 and then back-to-back provincial finalists in 1979 and 1980 in the Midget division.

At the rink, Faye began playing organized hockey on a Cobourg Women's team at the age of 14. Faye joined the Rice Lake Rebels the following year and played with them until heading to Centennial College to play for the Colts. After 2 years with Centennial Faye played 4 years with Brampton Canadettes Senior team. Prior to leaving for College Faye helped to establish the first Cobourg girls hockey league, which eventually led to her coaching an all-girls team sponsored by St. Michael's Church and christened “The Flying Nuns”. Faye also served as a member of the CCHL executive for years.

Faye began refereeing in the OMHA and the OWHA while umpiring in the summer with Softball Ontario. In the late 1980's, Faye was part of the organizing committee for the Cobourg Jr. Angels. Faye continued to coach a Jr. Angels team. In 2000 Faye again coached a Jr. Angels team to the Bantam Tier II PWSA Ontario Championship.

Those years also saw Faye coach boys teams for the Cobourg Legion. Faye has served on the executive board of both Cobourg Legion Minor Softball and Cobourg Baseball Association at the same time coaching her two sons in baseball and hockey. Faye returned to the Cobourg Junior organization to coach in 2003 and has been with the organization ever since in both a coaching and executive capacity. In 2017 her Novice team won the Eastern Canadian Fastball Championship. Faye also volunteered her time coaching Basketball teams in the Cobourg Youth Basketball League from 2004 to 2007.



Don Ball Sr

Don Ball Sr

Many athletes can point to a great game, some to an exceptional season, and a precious few to a great career; but not many athletes can match the longevity of Don Ball Sr. … Football, Hockey, Fastball, Basketball … Don Ball Sr. played them all, at an extremely high level, and won countless championships along the way.

The Left End on the legendary Cobourg Galloping Ghosts Football Team that won the Canadian Intermediate “A” Championship in 1948, Don also was the guard on the Cobourg High School Basketball team that won the Queens University High School Invitational in 1946 and 1947. It was at the hockey rink and on the ball diamond that Don made his most lasting impact. A forward, Don enjoyed a 24-year career on the ice, mostly spent in the Cobourg Mercantile League. Don was renowned for his agelessness and his sportsmanship.

In recognition, the Cobourg Mercantile League annually presented the Don Ball Trophy to the least penalized team in the circuit and in 1971, Don was awarded the Percy Baker Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship and ability. On the diamond, Don spent an incredible 37 years as a player, predominantly in the Hamilton Township and Cobourg Mercantile Fastball Leagues. Lovingly referred to as “The Grand Old Man” and “Softball's Gordie Howe”, Don was also the last of the conventional underhanded pitchers in the area, a style of delivery that often befuddled opposing batters.

Approaching 50-years-old, Don was still able to routinely throw perfect innings, while also pacing his team, the Baltimore Merchants, at the plate; an achievement not lost on Layton Dodge. “Just when it seems the sports world is peopled exclusively with cynics and complacent athletes for whom such words as “loyalty” and “the love of the game” are alien, along comes a remarkable individual like Don Ball to restore faith in humanity. That there are such gentlemen on our playing fields is comfort enough; that Don Ball should be still there at age 49 when he should be reaching for the pipe and slippers instead of a Louisville Slugger or a Cooper glove is an unexpected bonus.”


Paul Allen

Paul Allen-head

Paul Allen

Student, Athlete, Referee, Teacher, Coach, Instructor, Convenor, Scheduler, Co-Ordinator, Organizer, Volunteer, … Paul Allen has worn a lot of different hats in life, with most of them related to sport, which is ironic, considering that up until his Grade 10 year at CDCI West, Paul had never played a sport or been a member of any athletic team. Paul quickly discovered his sporting passion – Basketball. But by no means was basketball his only sport at the West, with him also excelling in Volleyball, Soccer, Cross-Country, Football, and most notably Track & Field, where he won 4 COSSA gold medals in the Triple Jump (along with a 2nd and a 4th place finish at OFSSA), and 3 COSSA gold medals in the Long Jump. After graduating high school, Paul then proceeded to continue his education – and his athletic career – at the University of Guelph, where in his final year, Paul helped the Gryphons to the Canadian University Basketball Championship. At the same time, Paul became a carded Volleyball referee, beginning an officiating career that would encompass many sports and over five decades. Upon graduation from Guelph, Paul returned to Cobourg and subsequently competed in numerous sports and leagues – Basketball, Soccer, Hockey, Slo-Pitch – winning many individual and team awards. In addition, Paul would also re-enter CDCI West, as a teacher, where he would spend the next 33 years, impacting the lives of countless students. Naturally Paul was heavily involved with the sporting aspect of the school, in particular the Senior Basketball team whom he helped coach to 3 COSSA championships. During those years Paul was instrumental in the growth of Basketball in the area, putting his time and efforts into the Lakeshore Adult Basketball League, the Lakeshore Lynx Rep Team, and the Lakeshore Minor Basketball Association. Since his retirement from teaching in 2010, Paul has turned his hand to volunteering on the local level, coordinating numerous events. In 2021, Paul Allen was the recipient of the Cobourg Civic Award for Sportsmanship, which is presented annually to a coach, official or sports organizer who has shown outstanding leadership in contribution to Cobourg’s sports and recreational community.


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Basketball - Paul Allen

Paul Allen


Paul Edward Allen


Paul Allen enjoyed a fantastic, if somewhat average, childhood in the west end of Cobourg, growing up playing in the fields with his friends, going to school at the ‘new’ Burnham Public School and splitting his time between his home there and his aunt’s home in Hastings.

Hastings is where he spent most of his summers, teaching swimming and helping his parents with their various volunteer and paid positions in those two communities.

When Paul started High School at Cobourg District Collegiate Institute West, little had changed. He settled in to his studies and proved to be a pretty decent student. His parents were proud of him.

But Paul wanted more. Even though he had never played a sport or been a member of any athletic team, he wanted to try out for sports.


His parents were afraid that he would get hurt and wouldn’t consent to his participation. It took the Head of Guidance, Major Fred Brown to convince his parents that he’d be okay and they finally consented when Paul was in Grade 10.

Having had little to no exposure to this kind of lifestyle, Paul went all out. He got involved in basketball, which became his passion sport. He made all the teams, played tournaments and won numerous awards. As a Junior and Midget, he played tournaments with the Senior Team.

Over those four years, he was Captain of the Team, MVP, high scorer, and boasted the best stats. The Team attended District and Provincial Championships and won numerous invitational tournaments.


In Track & Field, Paul excelled in the both triple and long jump. In triple jump he received 4 District (COSSA) gold medals, along with a record that still stood at the 100th anniversary of the High School. He also placed 2nd and 4th Provincially (OFSSA) over his time in High School.

In the long jump, Paul won 3 gold medals at District meets and competed at OFSSA. He was successful in being named the school’s overall Senior Boys Track & Field Champion in 1969.


Volleyball, Soccer, Cross-Country and Football were also sports in which Paul excelled. Awards and accolades were abundant, both individually and for the Teams. In 1969, his final year of High School, Paul shared the CDCI West Male Athlete of the Year award.

To put the cherry on top, Paul was named the Town of Cobourg’s (sponsored by the Cobourg Credit Union) ’Male Athlete of the Year’ in his final year of High School.


His athletic abilities caught the attention of Jerry Lawless, Phys Ed Teacher, who encouraged Paul to join the Cobourg Legion Track & Field Club, where Jerry also did some coaching.

Paul was part of that Legion Team from 1965-67 and competed in a number of meets and competitions, including participating in the Eastern Canadian Championships in New Brunswick in 1967.


And if that didn’t keep him busy enough, Paul joined the Cobourg ‘Behan Construction Cats’ Junior C Lacrosse Team in his last year of High School. Paul was both Assistant Captain and Captain for full seasons, as well as the leading scorer on a regular basis.

In 1969, Paul went off to the University of Guelph to study Human Kinetics. His primary interest, however, was to play basketball for the Guelph Gryphons, under the coaching leadership of Garney Henley, who was also a current CFL player with the Hamilton Tiger Cats at that time.


Paul tried out for and made the Gryphons Team and played Junior Varsity for 2 years. In his 3rd year, Paul was named the MVP at the season opener invitation tournament and was elevated to the position of starting guard on the Gryphons.

In his final year of University, the 1973-74 season, the Gryphons earned the wild card spot for the Canadian University Basketball Tournament, where they bested the St. Mary’s Huskies in the finals to secure the Championship. Paul seldom came off the floor in the 3 games, one of which went into double overtime. 


When he wasn’t playing basketball or studying, Paul also played varsity volleyball during his first 2 years, as well as became involved in orienteering, competing for the University of Guelph at the Canadian Orienteering Championships in 1972.

Throughout his 4 years at Guelph, Paul became a carded volleyball referee and regularly officiated at High School Tournaments through the Guelph Region.


Upon graduation, Paul maintained his involvement in sports, joining the Cobourg Men’s Basketball Team, the Plaza Drifters (later to become the Kelly’s Hotel Drifters) on which he played for more than 30 years, from 1974-2007. In 1975, Paul assisted the team in winning the Ontario Intermediate ‘D’ Championship Title, in which he was named 1st team All-Star and Tournament MVP.

He was also part of an inter-faculty basketball league in Toronto, where he travelled once or twice a week to play. He was a top scorer on his team and a league all-star.


Despite having graduated from Guelph, his former basketball coach, Garney Henley, contacted Paul in 1975 and asked him to accompany the Guelph Gryphons to South Dakota to play for an injured guard. Paul helped the team advance to the finals.

Shortly afterwards, Garney again availed himself of Paul’s talents, asking him to join them for a tournament to West Virginia, where Paul helped the team reach the finals, only to be beaten out for the title.


Meanwhile, the Peterborough Pilon Pistons had been courting Paul and he became a team member of this intermediate ‘B’ team in 1976. He played with them for 10 years, honing his skills and winning numerous tournaments, along with personal bests in scoring and MVP awards.

But basketball isn’t a year-round sport, so Paul also played soccer with the Cobourg Soccer Club Men’s Travelling Team with the Quinte Soccer Association.


If that wasn’t enough to keep him busy, Paul was commuting daily to Toronto for Teacher’s College in 1975-76. He landed a teaching position at CDCI West beginning in September 1976.

One of his goals was to become a basketball coach at the High School level and he regularly assisted his mentor and friend, Art Dalgarno, in this regard, for a few years prior to securing the teaching position.


In 1978, Paul decided he wanted to give hockey a try. He’d never had a pair of skates on his feet before then, so it was a steep learning curve. He ended up being pretty good at it, playing in a number of local leagues for 15 years.

In order to better assist his students at the annual week-long outdoor residential educational retreat, Paul became certified as a flat-water kayak and canoe instructor.


Paul regularly caught the eye (and camera lens) of Layton Dodge who wrote numerous stories and filled pages of the local Sports Section with write-ups and photos of Paul’s accomplishment and awards. Paul’s mother faithfully saved those newspaper articles and amassed a large collection over the years.

Throughout his 33 years of teaching at the West High School and his 37 years of coaching basketball, Paul impacted the lives of many a young man, both on and off the Court.


He helped to transform an ailing adult basketball league comprising teams from along the lakeshore (Oshawa to Peterborough to Belleville) into the Cobourg Men’s Basketball League, which later became a practice venue for his Senior High School teams. This totally changed the face of Senior Basketball at the West High School considerably, making them a much more competitive team, able to hold their own with bigger schools.

3 COSSA Championships in 1982 (with Dennis Clarke), 1984 & 2008 (with Art Dalgarno) can attest to that. Under ‘Lakeshore Adult Basketball League’, this league still exists to this day.


Seeing a gap in competitive play for middle school boys, Paul and Eugene Todd developed the Lakeshore Lynx Rep Team in 2002, coaching one of the age groups through 2 Provincial Championships, for 8 years before turning over the reigns to others. This program still exists for Youth from ages 8-16.

In 1998, Paul was looking for a place for his youngest son to play basketball and was introduced to the Lakeshore Minor Basketball Association, a Saturday morning program that had been running for a couple of years out of a few local schools.


Over the course of the next 23 years, Paul served the LMBA in both a Coaching and an Executive capacity (Convenor, President, Scheduler).

To keep his hand in everything athletic that he could, Paul has been a carded official for 50+ years for Volleyball and Soccer, as well as a Track & Field Starter.


He became a basketball official in 1978 and continues that to the present, winning a Provincial Award in 2018 for ‘Contribution to Community’.

In 1985, Paul’s friends talked him into joining a slo-pitch team and despite the fact that he had never played any form of baseball before, he proved to be a valuable asset to them.


He continued playing slo-pitch for more than a couple of years and transitioned over when they became a ‘Masters’ team. With his Team, he attended Provincial finals on 4 occasions, regularly making at least the quarter-finals and winning the “C” Championship one of those times. He continued to play recreationally until his retirement.

 As a young man, Paul looked up to 3 men, all Teachers and Co-Coaches and he felt infinitely lucky to call them all his friends. The one thing that all of them held in common and instilled in him was the ‘pay it forward’ mindset. And he wanted to make Art Dalgarno, Dennis Clark and Jerry Lawless proud with his efforts.


Since his retirement from teaching in 2010, Paul has turned his hand to volunteering and he has a hard time turning down anything sports-related.

He was co-chair of Sport Technical for the ParaSport Games in 2015, Co-Convenor of the Ontario 55+ Senior Winter Games in 2017, assisted with the Under 16 National Boys Fastpitch Championships in 2017 and the 2017 RBC Cup Hockey Tournament.


Paul also acted as Volunteer Co-ordinator for the Rogers Hometown Hockey Event in Cobourg. He has been involved with the Northumberland Sports Council since its inception, 20 years ago, and is currently co-chair.

Paul was the 2021 recipient of the Sportsmanship Award (Cobourg Civic Award), which is presented annually to a coach, official or sports organizer who has shown outstanding leadership in contribution to Cobourgs sports and recreational community.



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Officiating - Jim Bradford

Jim Bradford



Robert James “Jim” Bradford was born on April 5, 1948. He was the oldest son of Bob and Dorise Bradford. He and his wife, Keren, raised two children, Jeanette and Scott.

During the day, he was an exemplary elementary school teacher at Dr. Powers in Port Hope. He taught in the junior division throughout his career.

Bradford's first taste of success on the field was as a player for the Cobourg Legion Bantam softball team. In 1962, they were All Ontario Champs. Seven years later he became an assistant coach with the same Legion Bantam team that he had played for. All Ontario Champs was an accomplishment Jim achieved on a number of occasions for a number of softball teams. He played for the Winchester Western Juniors and was an All Ontario Champ. Bradford later joined the ranks of the Cold Springs Cats (Intermediate C level) and once again became an all Ontario Champ in 1975 and 1976.

Jim played by the rules and lived by the rules. Officiating must have been in his blood since day one. A local sports writer once said, “Jim's love for officiating kept him busy the year round. He referees basketball, and hockey during the cold winter months”. In the summer months, Bradford could be found behind the plate during a number of league and tournament baseball games. Bradford credits his wife “… for being patient in allowing me to pursue my umpiring whenever and wherever I wanted to go”.

“Jerry Lawless, physical education at Cobourg West Collegiate, inspired Bradford's basketball officiating career by driving him to his first clinic 35 miles away”. The rest, as they say, is history. He found another sport that became his calling. He was both the founder and a referee for the South Kawartha Basketball Association. On Saturday mornings during the 90's he volunteered as a referee for the Lakeshore Basketball Association.

In 1980, Bradford met Sharon Sinclair, who was the provincial umpire-in-chief, while officiating basketball at the Ontario Summer Games in Peterborough. He later mentioned that Sinclair was the person who had the most influence on his career in officiating! 

In 1984, Jim was an arbiter for the Senior Men's National Fast Pitch Championship in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Glowing comments were evident on his National Championship Umpire Rating form where his superiors commented, “Jim is a highly competent official, who has progressed in the past number of years. He is a complete umpire who has the respect of his fellow umpires and players, when on the ball diamond”.

Since he excelled throughout the tournament, he was chosen to work the final game, which is a top honour according to fellow umpires! Also noted was the fact that Bradford was one of only two Ontario umpires chosen to officiate in the championships!

He also umpired the National Midget Boys Fastball Championships in Napanee, the Women's Worlds in Newfoundland, as well as numerous provincial tournaments.

Bradford held a number of executive positions with Softball Ontario and the National Committee. He served as the Deputy Zone Umpire in Chief, Zone Umpire in Chief, Deputy Softball Provincial Umpire in Chief, and served nationally on the ODC as a Deputy with his focus divided between Slow Pitch and Fast Pitch. Bradford founded the South Central Umpires Association and locally, he was the vice president of the Cobourg Men's Softball League.

Over the years, Bradford “ … worked on the committee preparing the exams, wrote articles for the local, provincial, national periodicals and had been published in “Referee”, with Softball Canada”. He was also a presenter at the Blue Convention in Toronto and in Fredericton.

During his time with Softball Canada, he assisted with the development of manuals and supervised at Canadian Championships in both Fast Pitch and Slow Pitch.

One of his greatest achievements was attaining elite level 5 status in fast pitch and slow pitch softball. Reaching elite level 5 status in fast ball meant he was eligible to officiate internationally. At the time, Bradford was the only umpire in the country to have achieved this dual accolade! Since 1984, when he reached the elite level 5 status, he longed to officiate at the Pan American Games.

Finally in 1987, he realized his dream by going to the Pan Am games in Indianapolis, Indiana. An experience he once described as, “… unbelievable”. He received a Certificate of Merit in recognition of his selection to the umpiring staff. He was also inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Canadian Amateur Softball Association in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 2003.

The induction solidified his status as a top level umpire in Canada. He had spent countless hours honing his skills and expertise as an umpire. Bradford passed away in 2001 and his wife, Keren, accepted the award and spoke on Jim's behalf.

Looking back over Bradford's illustrious career, he received many accolades. In memorial, The Legion Award of $500.00 was presented to an umpire going on to post secondary education. The Cobourg Angels Softball team recognized Bradford by creating an award bearing his name which was given to a young umpire who had umpired for the Angels organization. The Jim Bradford Memorial Tournament was named in Jim's honour and it was later renamed the Bradford/Cane Tournament to celebrate the contributions of both of these great men.

Jim Bradford was definitely a hometown hero! His expertise on the field and the hard court were exemplary. Bradford set the bar high for himself and those who followed in his footsteps. He was a gentleman in all aspects of life and will be remembered fondly.

In closing, I have included an article in its entirety which was written by Layton Dodge, Cobourg's sports writer extraordinaire and member of Cobourg and District Sports Hall of Fame.

By Bryan Marjoram


Layton Dodge,  Cobourg Sentinel Star, July 24, 1968

The young player of the Cobourg softball scene whom I personally admire more than any other is Jim Bradford, the 20-year-old catcher of Hillier's Juniors.

I respect him for his ability and his attitude, for his exemplary conduct and character.

During a game, Jim is the inspiration and the perspiration of his team. Call it hustle, drive or just plain desire, but Bradford's got it. The 165-pound bundle of energy gives 100 per cent in every game. He never quits.

As the club's salt and pepper player, Jim spews forth a steady stream of chatter and encouragement from his crouch behind the plate. I believe he keeps the Juniors alert and alive. As the quarterback of the team, he braves the rough body blocks of barreling-in base runners and the clouds of dust which go with it, pounces on bunts and pop ups, shakes off foul tips off his fingertips, often outraces the batter or runner to cover up at first or third on errant throws by teammates, and calls the shots for his battery mates to render tangible leadership.

At bat, he drops bunts, wheedles walks, and bangs out crisp line drives. Whatever he is called upon to do on a ball field he never fails to carry it out to the best of his ability. All these combined attributes have made him the top receiver in our Town League for the past three years.

The best compliment you can pay Jim Bradford is to say he came to play … he came to beat you … fair and square. As an acknowledged holler guy (not in the sour connotation of the team) Jim occasionally jabs with a verbal needle. Yet, he's never offensive or crude. He possesses the knack of being able to dispute the accuracy of the umpire's judgment without incurring his wrath.

Unlike some of his contemporaries, Jim is unspoiled by his athletic successes as a young-star. He is neither selfish, nor temperamental, foolhardy or obscene, stubborn or vain. Rather, he is honest and thoughtful, clear-cut and sensible, intense and eager to learn. In a world replete with individual glory and apathy, his approach to life in general, and to sport in particular, is a refreshing change of pace.

It has been said more than once that impressionable youngsters frequently pick up bad habits by copying what they see and hear from players in our Town League. Those boys who try to emulate Jim Bradford can't possibly go far wrong, however.

In my book, this soon-to-be school teacher is one heckuva fine ballplayer and a gentleman personified to boot. That's why he is a particular favourite of mine.


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Basketball-History of LMBA

LMBA logo


The birth of the Lakeshore Minor Basketball Association (LMBA) coincided with the debut of the Toronto Raptors NBA franchise in the mid 1990’s. In its infancy, the youth league had one division of young adolescent players distributed among 4 teams. Initial financial support from local businesses and service clubs allowed the organizers to provide equipment and uniforms.

Over the course of the first decade, the league began to expand as it drew players from across Northumberland County. The league’s expansion was made possible through the generous support of the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board as divisional play took place at Port Hope High School, as well as Cobourg District Collegiate East and West. Presently, the LMBA conducts all house league games at Cobourg District Collegiate (CCI).


One of the factors that spurred the growth of the LMBA was that it drew upon a considerable pool of highly skilled older teenagers and adults to coach and fill other roles. Many of these people would not customarily have had the opportunity to contribute to a youth basketball programme that existed outside of the school system.

Through the years, the LMBA has drawn upon the leadership of numerous highly qualified and committed individuals that spurred the growth in player registration as well as improvement in programme delivery.

Initial founders and mainstays included Jim Birch, Keith Woods, John Hayden, Tom McIelwain, Tom Cable and Glenn Tozer. During the latter years and up to the present, key longstanding leaders and innovators have included Scott Fraser, Paul Van Laren, Eugene Todd, Will McCrae, and Paul Allen.

Over the course of its existence, the LMBA has achieved numerous significant milestones. In 2002/2003, the LMBA introduced the Lakeshore Lynx, its first Ontario Basketball Association (OBA) Rep team coached by Eugene Todd and Paul Allen. These two coaches guided the 2003/2004 Under 13 team to a provincial championship and repeated their success with the 2007/2008 Under 17 team.


2003 - 04 Lakeshore Lynx Major Bantam Ontario Cup Champions. Front row: Josh Oakman Allen, Charlie Davis, Chris Mullen, Robert Frame, Nick Wilson, Graham Gillies

Back Row: Paul Allen (Coach), Drew Tozer, Steve Holmes, Brad Trumper, Mike Traini, Jon Forget, John Gillies (Assistant Coach/Manager)


While the competitive programme was developing, the LMBA leadership undertook a series of house league initiatives. The expansion of the programme for younger players was possible due to the LMBA providing financial support for the installation of height adjustable baskets and the provision of an electronic scoring table at Cobourg Collegiate East.

Subsequently, the Executive expanded the house league programme to include the Under 10 age group. In 2012/13, the LMBA presided over promotional efforts to draw more girls to the programme.

In recent years, the LMBA established numerous educational sessions for coaches and players including Saturday morning activities and summer camps led by Jesse Young, the former captain of the Canadian Men’s National Team.


In 2019, the LMBA had 3 competitive teams and about 250 players registered in the house league whose ages ranged from 7-17. The growth in registration has been particularly strong in the younger age groups. Looking to the future, the organization has committed to improving upon the retention of female players by offering specific programming aimed to improve their confidence and engagement.

The LMBA is fortunate to have a very enthusiastic base of supportive parents, a dedicated and capable leadership and a skilled pool of eager coaches. The house league also benefits from having carded officials to referee house league games. One of the defining characteristics of the LMBA is the maintenance of its vision and guiding principles. The focus of the programme continues to encourage the learning of the rules, improving physical fitness and of course, having fun playing the game.


The Lakeshore Minor Basketball Association has proudly established itself as one of many impressive youth athletic programmes that currently serve Cobourg and the surrounding area.



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School-CDCI West: Jerry Lawless

jerry Lawless

Gerald Alphonsus “Jerry” Lawless
Physical Education Teacher and Coach
CDCI West Viking Coaching Legend

Gerald Alphonsus “Jerry” Lawless was born on October 18, 1931 in Grafton, Ontario. He was one of nine children of Thomas Alphonsus “Phons” Lawless and Mary ”Eva” (Kernaghan). Jerry passed away in his 83rd year on November 5, 2013.

Jerry grew up doing chores on the family farm and volunteering at church. As a young adult he worked on the railway, picked tobacco, and pruned Christmas trees to pay for his university courses. As an adult he continued to go home and help cut grass and trim hedges on the family farm. He attended St. Mary’s Elementary School in Grafton and then went to high school at Cobourg Collegiate Institute (CCI).

Jerry went to St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto where he graduated in 1955 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He completed the Ontario College of Education course in the summer and began his high school teaching career in Englehart, Ontario, in September of 1955. Jerry married Audrey (O’Shea) from Hastings, Ontario, on December 26, 1955.

In 1956, Jerry and Audrey moved to Cobourg, Ontario, where Jerry accepted a job teaching English and Mathematics at CDCI West. Jerry continued his University education taking night courses and summer courses. In 1962, he graduated from McMaster University in Hamilton with a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education. In 1963, Jerry was appointed head of the Physical Education Department at CDCI West. Jerry taught and coached for 33 years, before retiring in 1988.

In his early years of teaching, Jerry coached 5 to 9 teams because there weren’t enough coaches. During his years at CDCI West Jerry focused on not only the development of his student athletes' athletic skills, but also their life skills. He attended coaching clinics over the years to improve his knowledge as a coach. Jerry coached numerous teams to championship wins. Some of these included:

1967 - Kawartha and COSSA Boys Volleyball
1968 - Kawartha and COSSA Boys Volleyball
1975 - Kawartha and COSSA Midget Boys Basketball
1978 - Kawartha and COSSA Midget Boys Basketball
1979 - Kawartha and COSSA Midget Boys Basketball

There was also a soccer championship in that mix. Many of his track and field athletes won championships over the years. On one occasion, Jerry coached soccer and volleyball teams to championship wins on the same day.

Jerry was recognized with many awards. He was presented with the Pete Beach Award, an Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association (OFSAA) Coaching Excellence Award, presented to outstanding coaches for their contributions to better their sport and athletes in Ontario. This award was designed to recognize the contribution of a coach over a period of several years.

In 1988, he was presented with the Coach’s Dedication Award which recognized his coaching contributions from 1956-1988 for his continuous effort and support of athletics at “the West”. Jerry had two Athletic Banquet Awards named after him - The Jerry Lawless Coaching Award and the Jerry Lawless Senior Male Athlete of the Year Award. Jerry Lawless was the ultimate West Viking.

The CDCI West Gymnasium was named “The Jerry Lawless Gymnasium” in his honour. When CDCI West closed, Jerry was chosen to share the Cobourg Collegiate Institute gymnasium name with Del Dillon - “The Dillon Lawless Gymnasium”.

Outside of school life, Jerry was an active volunteer within his community. He was a volunteer coach for girls softball and he helped Rick McManus coach the Rouw Construction Girls “Y” Peewee Ball team to a league championship in 1970. This was the first Donegan Park team in the league’s eight year history to capture a championship.

Jerry volunteered with the track and field events at the Cobourg Highland Games in Donegan Park and at St. Michael’s Church in various roles as a reader, an usher, and as an Instructor for Marriage Preparation courses. He and Audrey helped with the Meals on Wheels program. They were cherished volunteers with Cobourg and District Community Living, where they delivered meals and drove the sick and elderly.

Jerry’s personal hobbies and sports activities included hockey, golf, curling, skiing, tobogganing, gymnastics, lawn bowling, square dancing, bridge and gardening. As a young man he had to hitchhike to play hockey and played many games with frozen toes. He was a competitive athlete but concentrated more on coaching students, his daughters and his grandchildren.

Jerry was a dedicated family man. He taught his three daughters many school sports and other skills including swimming, fishing, skating, softball, trampoline, tobogganing, hiking, skiing and camping. Jerry spent countless nights flooding a large ice rink in the backyard for his daughters. He was rewarded for this hard work by watching his daughter Ginny play hockey for Queen’s University. Her team won a gold and two silver medals.

Jerry was a humble man who did not seek the limelight. His brother and sister helped to pay for his university. He was one of two children out of his family of nine that went to University. He learned at a young age to pay it forward and to do random acts of kindness, with nothing asked in return.

Jerry always shared whatever he had with others. He quietly helped students out by purchasing meals, athletic shoes, sports gear, tickets to sporting events, or by driving them home after a late game. Jerry’s former students continued to visit him when they were home for Christmas or summer breaks. Students mailed him pictures of their children playing sports. Some of his former students have shared that they continue to follow many of his life lessons.

Jerry had many quotes that he will be remembered for:
The KISS rule - “Keep It Simple Simon” - no one is stupid around here.
“You aren’t the first to do it and you won’t be the last” - if someone made a mistake.
“If you’re not nervous, you’re not ready”.

“White socks or no socks”.

Once Jerry retired, he filled his hours with sports, woodworking, gardening, bridge club and travelling with his wife Audrey. Jerry built a table and picture frames using wood from the floor of the small gymnasium at CDCI West. Jerry and Audrey spent many hours caring for their four grandchildren and supporting them in their activities. In retirement, Jerry continued to teach and coach his grandchildren for 27 years.

Jerry passed on his knowledge through his values by teaching leadership, life skills, perseverance, integrity, patience, honesty, kindness, and respect for others. The “torch” has been passed on to his daughters, grandchildren, great grandchildren and many students who continue to “pay forward” his legacy.

Some comments from the Gym naming and from Cobourg Yesteryears Facebook posts include:
 “He always went out of his way for those who struggled or did not fit in”.
“He was a man who defined West Athletics”.

“As I step onto the track, and settle into the starting blocks, Mr. Lawless is still with me”.
“Jerry Lawless had his own quiet way of motivating athletes to at first try, and often succeed.”
“If I can influence just one person the way Mr. Lawless influenced hundreds I would be proud”.

“Jerry Lawless touched so many people in his time at the West Collegiate, trust me, they all remember him for his time and dedication he gave everybody”.
“Mr. Lawless personified “spirit” at The West. Whether you were one of his students, a member of one of the countless teams he coached, or just another face in a school of hundreds of kids, he made an effort to get to know everyone. Pretty sure he loved his job, and we all benefited”.

“He gave of himself not just at school but at church and everyday life. I never knew him to ever put anyone down but he always tried to show them their self-worth.”
“Mr. Lawless instilled in us to always give 110%. I will never forget him. I always to this day try to give 110% in whatever I do”.

Jerry said, “You are rewarded so many times over by teaching children”.

Gerald Alphonsus "Jerry" Lawless   
Forever will his praise be sung by his students both old and young!
 Rah Rah Rah!
(Quote taken from the West school song – slightly modified).

A Special Teacher
by Layton Dodge
June 14. 1967  Cobourg Sentinel-Star

THE END OF ANOTHER SCHOOL TERM IS a rather appropriate time, I think, to pen a few kind words about a unique teacher who ranks in my book as the undisputed leader in the physical fitness field in Cobourg.

High school students of the last ten years readily will agree that the man who deserves that billing is Jerry Lawless, head of the PE department at the West Collegiate.

There is no teacher I know who is more admired and respected in our town than the same Mr. Lawless. Boys and girls alike have only good things to say about this man. In fact, in all my dealings with secondary school people, I've never heard any student utter a harsh word about him. That's a remarkable endorsement for a teacher whose job it is to instruct and discipline sometimes temperamental, often critical teenagers.

Jerry Lawless is one of a kind, in my estimation, because of the unparalleled rapport he has established with the students while still maintaining control. There are no know-it-all airs about him. He talks their language, so to speak. He sometimes needles. He often prods. He treats students as young adults rather than as puppets.

Like an older brother; he punishes when it is deserved and praises when it is their just due. In return, the boys, most of whom an looking for direction and respond to it when it is properly channeled, do for him what they wouldn't normally do for somebody else.

Ask almost any CDCI West boy which teacher he finds the friendliest, which one he can tell his troubles to and which one he knows best and chances are the overwhelming majority will single out Mr. Lawless. The collegiate gym is the hallowed grounds of basketball, wrestling, volleyball and gymnastic school teams, inter-form teams and inter-class teams. It is the arena of emotions, the informal classroom of the school.

The campus is a training ground for track, soccer, lacrosse and football. In these domains, you generally find Jerry Lawless - spurring a boy to a more concerted effort, passing along a pointer, demonstrating proper technique, organizing a game, running a practice or assisting another teacher in instructing. He freely gives up countless off, duty hours to pursue these tasks.

Teenage boys listen and pay heed to Jerry Lawless because he knows what he's talking about. He is familiar with the basics of every high school sport and extremely knowledgeable in the finer points of many. What's more, he's not a "do-what-l-say-and-not-as-I do" instructor. Usually, he can demonstrate the correct procedure himself. Moreover, Jerry is ever conscious of the athletic capabilities of his students, their whims and their idiosyncrasies.

I know him to be an excellent analyst, too, able to pick out the flaws in a performance quickly and accurately. Significantly, he judges excellence by performance, spirit and the will to achieve, not by victory alone. Enthusiasm and desire distinguish the great teacher from the ordinary one. Jerry Lawless is abundantly endowed.

He obviously wants to work with boys and doesn't mind spending extra time to do it. For instance, he's one of three coaches taking 47 athletes from the COSSA area on a 5-day expedition to New Brunswick for a schoolboy track meet in St. John on July 1.

Despite  the lack of certain facilities (such as a track and a football field), with which other area high schools are blessed, and the obvious disadvantage of a comparatively small male student population, CDCI West boys have more than held their own in athletic circles in recent years, outdoing their more numerous, more favored East Collegiate counterparts in this regard.

From this observation post, Jerry Lawless deserves a good deal of the credit for this phenomenon. Many years from now, however, CDCI West graduates will not remember Jerry Lawless for the number of winners he produced, directed, assisted or just encouraged. They'll remember him for the kind of person that he was.

And that, I suggest to you, dear reader, is undoubtedly the finest compliment they could ever hope to pay him.

Updated August 2020


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School-CCI 2014-2020

Cobourg C.I.

Emerging in 2014 as the newly amalgamated public high school in Cobourg, Cobourg Collegiate Institute (CCI) has brought together the rich athletic histories of the former Cobourg District Collegiate Institute East and Cobourg District Collegiate Institute West schools.  Moving from medium sized “AA” schools (between 500-900 students) to a larger AAA school (1150 students in 2020), C.C.I. offers its students an extensive selection of sports teams, with the continued pride and success that was enjoyed by the former East and West schools.  

Since its inaugural year in September of 2014, C.C.I. sports teams have won many Kawartha (local) and COSSA (regional) championships.  This has led to many trips to the Ontario Federation of Schools Athletic Association (OFSAA) provincial championships with its sports teams, including Girls Hockey, Boys Hockey, Boys Volleyball, Girls Volleyball, Boys Soccer, Girls Soccer, Wrestling, Cross Country, Badminton, Tennis, Track and Field, and Swimming.  

A trip to CCI’s Dillon-Lawless Gym (named after renowned local high school physical education teachers Del Dillon and Jerry Lawless) will also allow you to see the growing number of team and individual OFSAA honours, including medal performances for finishing in the top 4 in the province.  

As of the winter of 2020, OFSAA Honours include the Girls Hockey team with a 4th place finish, and the following individuals: Wrestlers-Amara Hill (4th place), and Jayden Sparks (3rd place), Track Athletes- Cameron Bruce (4th place, 300m Hurdles) and Kate Current (2nd place, 800m), and Swimmers- Lauren Burleigh (2x 1st place 50m Para Backstroke, and 1st place 100m Para backstroke), and Carlie Bilodeau (1st place, JR 50m Backstroke).  Some of these athletes, and many others have enjoyed success at the college and university sports level following their years of competing for Cobourg Collegiate Institute.

In addition to an impressive C.C.I. OFSAA presence to date, they also consistently have demonstrated exceptional character through sport. Two teams were awarded with the OFSAA Sportsmanship Award during their OFSAA debuts – the varsity girls’ hockey team in 2016, in Stratford, and the senior boys’ soccer team in 2018, in Thunder Bay.

Beyond the successes of sports teams to date, dedicated coaches have planned a variety of trips to enrich the students’ experiences, and to provide lasting memories.  One of the highlighted trips include rugby teams taking part in tournaments in New York City and New Brunswick (Rothesay Netherwood Private School in Rothesay, NB).  As well, basketball teams have annually made trips to prestigious American Colleges and Universities to play games, tour the facilities and watch high-level teams train and compete.  Recent trips have been to Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan, Washington D.C., Virginia, West Virginia and New Hampshire.

Building on the excellent athletic facilities on the C.D.C.I. East school site, one major facility upgrade enjoyed by C.C.I. students was the installation of a 6-lane rubberized track.  This has attracted athletes and visitors, including the likes of Canadian Olympic medalist Andre De Grasse, for a training session before his trip to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.  Highlights on our track to date include running our school’s annual Relay for Life event, and a Board-Wide “Inclusive Track and Field Day”.  

The Inclusive track and field day is open to all Learning and Life Skills high school students around the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, and includes running, wheel-chair and field events, along with a barbeque lunch.  We are also happy to be able to accommodate local and regional elementary schools, housing our future C.C.I. athletes, who need a venue to run their annual track and field meets.

C.C.I has also been a support to many community members and visiting schools looking to access our gym facilities.  This has included a close relationship with the Lakeshore Minor Basketball Association, who has been a partner in helping us to invest in new glass backboards, adjustable nets and a padded score table.  The local Badminton Club, along with the Northumberland Sports Council, used our gym for the Ontario 55+ Winter Games in 2017, which was a unique opportunity to open our school to athletes from all age groups.  Our gyms are rented most nights, and weekends, throughout the year to service local sports clubs for training and competition, including volleyball, badminton, basketball, soccer, rugby, softball, baseball, lacrosse, rowing and more.

As Cobourg Collegiate Institute continues to grow its history, they are proud to be an important and vital part of the Cobourg community.

Updated August 2020


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