Stan Gill

Legendary Mt. Doug track coach to be honoured at school’s 80th anniversary

Coach Stan Gill led Mount Doug to five track and field championships, and plenty of second-place finishes

The names of previous track and field winners are printed too small in the souvenir event program for Stan Gill to read without taking off his glasses. As he scans the categories, his finger picks up the names of Mount Douglas secondary athletes and his memory fills in the rest.

From his arrival in 1963 until his retirement in 1997, Gill cultured a track and field renaissance with Mount Doug. The school laid claim to dozens of individual and team provincial championships.

On Saturday (Nov. 19), Gill and four other coaches, Earl Hockin (basketball), Dave Barker (soccer) Al Cochrane (football) and Mark Townsend (football) will be recognized at Mount Doug’s sports social and coach honouring, with a no-host bar, part of the school’s 80th anniversary celebrations this month.

It takes place in the school’s gymnasium, where Gill’s influence is omnipresent on Mount Doug’s Wall of Champions.

As “the only phys ed teacher” at Mount Doug in 1963, which was at the site now known as Cedar Hill middle school, Gill willingly took on the role. He was, however, a little unsuspecting of just what the school would soon accomplish: provincial team championships in 1969, ’70, ’75 and ’76, with second place finishes in 1968, and from 1971 to ’74. Mount Doug was first again in 1984.

“I guess there was some luck. We had some great athletes,” Gill says. “And I usually had helpers (coaching), especially with high jump, long jump and throwing.”

To hear his pupils now, Gill clearly had a gift and his influence was immediate. In 1966, Stephen Hume was part of a group that “started it all,” Gill says.

Hume, who is now an author and journalist with the Vancouver Sun became the first Islander to crack the two minute mark in the 880-yard dash (805 metres).

“Gill was far-sighted and at the leading edge of training techniques,” Hume recalls. “He coached me in the middle distances but made me work just as hard at sprints and the two-mile as well, which really improved my all round fitness. That summer I broke a Canadian junior record in the 1,500 metre steeplechase the first time I ever ran the event, entirely due to Gill’s coaching.”

Science wasn’t half of it, as Gill understood the art of coaching, says UVic Vikes track and field coach Brent Fougner, who was B.C.’s top triple-jumper when he graduated from Mount Doug in 1975.

One of Fougner’s first coaching jobs was to come back and assist Gill in the late 1970s.

“Gill got the best out of people. I think back on how I coach now and I have to admit, I say ‘How would Stan do this, or, approach this situation?’

“A lot of people will say Stan was instrumental in getting them to continue competing after high school.”

Fougner’s part of a vast network of people who were influenced by Gill. Brent’s wife Trish (Wellman) was B.C.’s top 1,500m runner in 1982, and Keith Butler, who coaches cross country with Fougner at UVic, was B.C.’s top 1,500m runner in 1980.

Because of Butler, Oak Bay High has been the province’s biggest and strongest team, winning six of the past seven combined boys and girls team trophies, including nine straight girls team championships. He is now full time with UVic.

“The way it is at Oak Bay is what Mount Doug was like in 1969,” Gill says. “We had specialists and drew athletes from other sports.”

Saturday’s social is a licensed event, a perfect place to ‘warm up’ before heading across the street to UVic for Mount Doug Idol with David Foster and Nelly Furtado later that evening, said alumni coordinator Les Bryan.

Like Gill, Earl Hockin and Dave Barker no longer coach at Mount Doug but football program creators Al Cochrane and Mark Townsend do. Cochrane and Townsend are the only currently tenured coaches to have been singled out for the sports social and coach honouring. The Rams made football history, putting Victoria on the map with the junior and senior AA championships in 2009.

Tickets for the the sports social and coach honouring are $20 and are available from mountdougalumni.com. The event runs from from 3 to 6 p.m. in the gymnasium. No one under 19 permitted.

Just Posted

Saanich walks the walk on crosswalk after student lobbied for improvements

Elanor Teel approached first Saanich about the intersection in March 2017

Firefighters across the region swing into the giving season

Local firefighter says it’s about whole community

Salmon runs produce highs and lows on Vancouver Island this year

Chinook salmon did particularly well on the Island this year

Victoria Disability Resource Centre helps people find jobs

Statistics Canada survey found people with disabilities face higher rate of unemployment

Pedestrian scrambles, underground tunnels and other downtown Victoria quirks

The area around the former Eaton’s Centre had some unique ideas

Victoria axe thrower targets world championships

Former pitcher to compete at World Axe Throwing League Championships in Chicago

POLL: Are you giving to charities over the holiday season?

In the holiday rush, amidst the hustle and bustle to find that… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 4, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Boeser scores 3, Pettersson has 5 points as Canucks hammer Blues

Vancouver picks up impressive 6-1 win in St. Louis

Battle over Saanich’s Haro Woods not yet over, says report

Draft management plan calls on Saanich to spend $142,500 to improve area

In Canada, the term ‘nationalism’ doesn’t seem to have a bad rap. Here’s why

Data suggest that Canadians don’t see the concept of nationalism the way people do in the United States

Small quake recorded west of Vancouver Island

No injuries or tsunami warning after 5.4 rumble felt some 400 kilometres from Victoria

B.C. suspends Chinese portion of Asian forestry trade mission due to Huawei arrest

Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of U.S. in Vancouver

2-year investigations nets $900,000 in refunds for payday loan customers

Consumer Protection BC says selling practices were ‘aggressive and deceptive’

Most Read