‘He was Mr. Basketball’
For some, mornings at The Greens at Renton will never be the same. Talk to others and they’ll say Norfolk County’s youth basketball scene has been dealt a real blow.
Together they’re grieving the loss of Bill Macovik, a good friend, and fiercely dedicated volunteer.
“He was caring - he was always interested in what people were up to,” said Dave Chanda, a friend and Macovik’s golf buddy in recent years. “He was always asking how your family was, how your dog was. He was interested in what people thought, and he loved to talk about sports.”
“He was just a friendly, friendly guy.”
“He had such a joy for coaching basketball, that passion just kind of flowed over everybody he came in touch with,” said Teresa Dockx, who coached alongside Macovik for the last decade. “When my son would come into the gym to shoot, he would take that moment to go over and talk him and anybody who had a basketball in their hands and give them a few extra pointers.”
“I’m very thankful that I got to coach with him.”
William Arthur Macovik was a respected biology teacher (spending much of his career in Tillsonburg), a devoted husband to his wife Janice for 41 years and cherished father to daughter Alexandra. Macovik died Aug. 22 at the age of 65.
Outside of his home and the classroom, Macovik was a popular member at The Greens. Some summers he could be found on the course several times per week, which would explain a single digit handicap.
When he wasn’t hitting the ball he was teaching youngsters to dribble it, either as part of the Simcoe Composite School coaching staff or the M&M Hoops Basketball Camp he ran for 18 years alongside Jean Montgomery.
“He was ‘Mr. Basketball’,” said Montgomery. “Whenever there was anything going on, whether he was coaching or not, he would be there. He really was invested in the kids reaching their potential, doing the best they could do. He wanted so much more for the kids, not just basketball, he wanted them to grow to be respectful and hard-working so that they could realize personal success.”
Make no mistake, when Macovik walked into the gym he was there to win and help players improve. Striving for anything else was wasted time.
“Even my own daughter, I’m thankful that she had a coach like Bill because it was tough love,” said Dockx. “The athletes knew that he cared about how each of those players progressed. He had a goal for every single one of them and he wanted to help each one of those players achieve that goal.”
Macovik maintained a steady social life even after a serious car accident north of Delhi 14 years ago left him with severe leg pain throughout the day.
He was swinging the sticks with Chanda up until Aug. 9, one day before he was hospitalized.
“He was really struggling to get around but he gave it his all,” Chanda explained. “Once he got over the ball there was no problem there, he’s got a nice swing and he played well.”
Chanda and Macovik’s fellow playing partners knew his health was deteriorating and had talked to him about slowing down but Macovik would have none of it.
“He loves the game so much that he misses the social aspect of it,” Chanda added.
“If anybody knew what the word endurance meant it was definitely Bill.”
Macovik often talked to his players about teamwork and how to improve. Given his health situation, he led by example.
“He was in a lot of pain that a lot of people sitting in those bleachers didn’t know about,” said Dockx.
“The kids knew that if Bill is showing up in this much pain to be here for us we could put out as much as we can as individuals. It certainly speaks a lot to his character.”
A celebration of life for Macovik will be announced in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the family has asked that donations made in his honour go to the Norfolk-General Hospital and
the Arnold Anderson Sport Fund.