Ma­covik brought out the best

Tillsonburg News - - FRONT PAGE - CHRIS AB­BOTT

Bill Ma­covik (1953-2018) will long be re­mem­bered in Tillsonburg as a bas­ket­ball coach and teacher who brought out the best in his ath­letes and stu­dents.

“I was pushed and taught to never give up,” said Jobina D’Aloisio, for­mer Glendale High School ath­lete, who was send­ing her thoughts on Ma­covik to Brian O’Rourke, who will be giv­ing Ma­covik’s eu­logy on Sept. 30.

“To put it plainly, he cre­ated a cul­ture of ex­cel­lence, a dy­nasty of girls’ bas­ket­ball in Tillsonburg that no other coach has been able to re­peat.”

“He taught us life lessons, lessons that mat­tered on the court and off the court,” said Stephani Wray. “Work ethic mat­tered, it was not per­sonal or po­lit­i­cal. You may not have liked what he said or did, but if you didn’t you had a choice to work harder or give up and quit. No­body gave up, and nei­ther did he. It would have been the easy way out, and he never made it easy. It was an hon­our to be part of his team, as much then as it still is now.”

“I guess the big­gest things were his abil­ity to teach us to be win­ners,” said Steph DeSut­ter. “He taught us what he knew and tried to learn more from us and for us.

“He took us on the ‘Big Stage’ (to big­ger city tour­na­ments) from our hum­ble (lit­eral) ru­ral roots and made us be­lieve that we had a shot. Now that I think about it, he was prob­a­bly the bravest per­son in the gym. We were too young and naive to re­ally know what game or tal­ent we were fac­ing. Sure we knew that they had bet­ter rank­ings and more head­lines in big­ger, bet­ter news­pa­pers, but we al­ways thought we had a shot... that was prob­a­bly largely his in­flu­ence as well. Bill would have known the real odds, he would have known that he was go­ing up against coaches with more wins and ac­cred­i­ta­tions and he still put him­self as much as us out there even know­ing that at times, he was go­ing to be out-coached, but he did it for all of us, to get the chance to be seen by some univer­sity coaches and scouts... to fur­ther our love of the game and our ed­u­ca­tion.

“None of us ever re­ally knew how he felt about any of this... if he was sweat­ing it, we never saw it. I’d like to think that he loved it all, and along the way he taught us the big­gest lessons. That it’s ‘About the Team’, hard work, grit, de­ter­mi­na­tion, and be­ing stu­dents of the game.”

“He sac­ri­ficed his free time for us to help us im­prove as ath­letes,” said re­becca Heeney. “I am more ap­pre­cia­tive of him now and the dis­ci­pline that we learned has helped us adults - par­tic­u­larly in the pro­fes­sion that I prac­tice. For all his tough­ness, he let his guard down and showed his soft­ness when the sea­son was over.”

“Bill would fre­quently re­fer to his play­ers and stu­dents by their last names in­stead of their first names

- it was a ‘badge of hon­our,’” said Sarah Bra­zier.

“Those were for­ma­tive years,” said wray. “And he knew it. He taught us the power of re­spect and in­flu­ence. He em­pow­ered young women long be­fore it was the pop­u­lar thing to do. He knew the younger girls looked up at the older girls and that it mat­tered how we acted both on and off the court. I still cher­ish the friend­ships and mem­o­ries I built with team­mates both younger and older.

“He was as much a par­ent to us as a coach. we re­spected him, and our par­ents re­spected him. He wasn’t there to cod­dle us; he built skill, he built team­mates, he built friends and fam­i­lies, he built CHAR­AC­TER. And he did it for the love of the game, and for the love of us. He was part of our fam­i­lies, our bas­ket­ball fam­ily, and most im­por­tantly our per­sonal fam­i­lies.”

“In the end, what I have come to re­al­ize through my own teach­ing and coach­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties,” said D’Aloisio, “is that the world needs more coaches in it to push young ath­letes to work hard, to be tough, and never give up. we need more people like Bill build­ing a cul­ture of re­silience, in­cred­i­ble work ethic and fear­less­ness. That was his great­est gift to his ath­letes and it is our job to pass these lessons on to oth­ers.”

“Six­teen years ago a ‘bright light’ was taken from Tillsonburg ’s ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem,” said o’rourke, who will be de­liv­er­ing the eu­logy at Ma­covik’s Cel­e­bra­tion of life on Sept. 30, 2 p.m. at The Greens at renton, east of Sim­coe on Con­ces­sion 14.

Ma­covik, who was mar­ried 41 years to Jan­ice (Gus­cott), with a 28-year-old daugh­ter Alexan­dra, died Au­gust 22 at the age of 65.

He be­gan teach­ing at Glendale High School in September 1977 after grad­u­at­ing from uwo with Hon­ours Sci­ence and phys. ed. In 25 years at Glendale, he taught Grade 11 Bi­ol­ogy, Grade 13 Bi­ol­ogy, and later Grade 12 Bi­ol­ogy as well as se­nior-grade phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion.

“I guess you could say I was his first in­tro­duc­tion to bas­ket­ball as a coach, be­cause he was my as­sis­tant on the last Gryphon team at Glendale,” said o’rourke. “He coached with me one year, and we got along very well. Bill wanted to learn things and he al­ways learned very eas­ily.”

Ma­covik went on to coach three other high school sports in Tillsonburg - hand­ball, golf, and one sea­son of football - but is per­haps best known as a girls bas­ket­ball coach. later, he coached girls bas­ket­ball an­other 10 years at Sim­coe Com­pos­ite.

“He cer­tainly made his mark with girls bas­ket­ball teams - they won sev­eral ox­ford-el­gin cham­pi­onships, WOSSA... and went to OFSAA.”

Ma­covik’s se­nior Gemini girls bas­ket­ball teams played at three OFSAA AA tour­na­ments, win­ning two sil­ver medals. He also coached two pro­vin­cial hand­ball cham­pi­onship teams.

“His coach­ing was quite re­mark­able, and to be able to coach four dif­fer­ent types of sports as a teacher, to me that is amaz­ing,” said o’rourke, not­ing that while in high school at park Col­le­giate in Brant­ford, Ma­covik was a star ath­lete in bas­ket­ball and football.

“He made west­ern’s football team, then suf­fered a bro­ken col­lar bone be­fore the sea­son be­gan and never played again. A lot of people don’t re­al­ize that he re­ally was a great ath­lete, he could play any sport.”

A late­comer to golf, Ma­covik started play­ing as a young adult.

“He made him­self a good golfer,” said o’rourke. “There was a time when we started play­ing golf to­gether fre­quently that I would beat him pretty reg­u­larly. Then he got se­ri­ous. I never stood a chance. He worked to make him­self good. He’d show up a minute be­fore tee time, not even take a warmup swing, and hit the ball straight down the fair­way. Then I’d hit one and I needed an ex­tra shot - and he en­joyed say­ing ‘take a Mul­li­gan.’

“He en­joyed sports, he could play any sport. And he was ex­cep­tional in many sports - ten­nis, squash, curl­ing, bocce. In short he was a nat­u­ral ath­lete. And as good an ath­lete that he was, he was a bet­ter coach and a great or­ga­nizer of events.”

Ma­covik, along with other Glendale staff in­clud­ing Scott Good­ing (now at 33 years), was one of the co-or­ga­niz­ers of the House Sys­tem and for more than 20 years en­cour­aged stu­dents to par­tic­i­pate in a myr­iad of ac­tiv­i­ties while build­ing school spirit. one of the big­gest ‘House’ events was the gym­nas­tics assem­bly, which usu­ally took place in April.

“The things they did... it was re­mark­able,” said o’rourke. “They had the mu­sic go­ing, the kids were all ex­cited. And from the phys ed classes he’d have kids do­ing some­thing on the high bar, par­al­lel bar, tum­bling. The kids loved it, and the mu­sic, when you get the right mu­sic... It was an ath­letic event for all kids. There were kids out there hav­ing fun and per­form­ing and they re­ally looked for­ward to it. It was fun.”

other fa­mous house events in­cluded duct tap­ing teach­ers to the gym wall, and a wild Car pull.

“Did you see the time Dave Quar­rie lost the con­test?” o’rourke laughed. “The re­ward for los­ing, he had to kiss the pig! That gym, dur­ing the noon hour, was filled. of course the Van wyns­berghe kid, might have been Michael, brought this lit­tle pig in... and Quar­rie was milking it for all it was worth. The kids went nuts.

“There had to be eight or 10 staff mem­bers in­volved in run­ning it (House Sys­tem) over the dif­fer­ent as­pects and sea­sons, but it was all good fun. They were kind of golden years at Glendale, at the time, be­cause the kids re­ally did en­joy the dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties and boy, you had ev­ery kid in the school in­volved one way or an­other. And it was nice to see.

“The essence or the beauty of ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties, whether it’s the House Sys­tem, whether it’s Stu­dent Coun­cil, the u.N. Club, whether it’s any team that you be­long to, if a kid was in­volved in any of that stuff, teach­ers would see that stu­dent in an­other per­spec­tive other than an aca­demic one, and that is im­por­tant for teach­ers’ growth as well. Bill pro­vided a lot of that.”

o’rourke re­called one con­test in par­tic­u­lar, when teach­ers would dec­o­rate their home room doors.

“Bill, be­ing com­pet­i­tive, had to come up with a big idea. He sent a kid down to the Vice-prin­ci­pal to let them know a minute be­fore she was com­ing to judge this par­tic­u­lar door. They got to the door and looked it - there was this huge Christ­mas stock­ing on the door and a stu­dent was in­side the stock­ing! So of course, Ma­covik’s class won the con­test. Beau­ti­ful! And Bill was a main per­son in or­ga­niz­ing a lot of those events. But to me, that gym­nas­tics assem­bly was just re­mark­able.”

o’rourke so­licited com­ments from sev­eral for­mer stu­dents for use at the Cel­e­bra­tion of life cer­e­mony, in­clud­ing DeSut­ter, D’Aloisio, wray, Heeney, Bra­zier, and Jill and Jen­nifer Buch­ner.

“I said girls, give me a cou­ple words of what they thought of him, maybe a cou­ple sen­tences. what did I get back? para­graphs. one was a page-and-a-half. They are in­ter­est­ing from the point of view that they all feel he got the best out of them. They all had the un­der­ly­ing com­ment that he re­ally pushed them to do well. And I think they grew to like it be­cause they played well.

“of­ten your coach­ing rep­u­ta­tion is ex­ag­ger­ated, I don’t think his was. He was a great game coach. He wasn’t afraid to take a chance with cer­tain things, whether it was a half-court press or he put dif­fer­ent play­ers in the game, and so on,” said o’rourke.

“The one game that I re­mem­ber more than any other... I think it was (OFSAA) over in Strat­ford. They were up against this team (Brockville - OFSAA AA champs in 1994, 1995 and 1996) that had this girl, Stacey Dales, and she was their star. I think she got 30 points against us that night. Stacey Dales went on to univer­sity of ok­la­homa and was (twice) an All-Amer­i­can, plus she played in the WNBA. Then she was one of the gals do­ing sports on ESPN (cur­rently a re­porter on NFL Net­work)...

“usu­ally a team wins be­cause they have bet­ter play­ers than the other team,” o’rourke smiled. “well, Stacey Dales was that kind of a player. She was great, but even then the Gemini had the last shot of the game to win it. It’s just the ball didn’t go down. So you can’t feel bad when it gets to the last sec­ond like that. They tried and they tried... all of his teams were that way. They were ag­gres­sive. I don’t think he could have got­ten any more out of those girls.

“ev­ery­one, the play­ers and the coaches, they make a com­bi­na­tion that leads to suc­cess. And Bill sub­scribed to the four ps, very well. prepa­ra­tion pre­vents poor per­for­mance.”

‘ex­e­cu­tion equals suc­cess’ was an­other, noted by Jill and Jen­nifer Buch­ner.

Stu­dents who took Ma­covik’s bi­ol­ogy class were chal­lenged ev­ery day, said o’rourke, and when they went to sci­ence-re­lated pro­grams at col­lege or univer­sity, they found they were fur­ther ahead in bi­ol­ogy than most of their col­leagues.

“For 25 years he gave to his stu­dents and ath­letes dis­ci­pline, knowl­edge and a win­ning and pos­i­tive aca­demic at­ti­tude.”

Just over month be­fore he died, o’rourke noted that Ma­covik was still do­ing what he loved, help­ing at the M&M Hoops sum­mer bas­ket­ball camp in Sim­coe, which started 18 years ago.

“He still went there and gave it. He had great de­ter­mi­na­tion.”

“He was a good guy,” o’rourke summed up.

StAff photo

A Cel­e­bra­tion of Life will be held for for­mer Glendale High School teacher and coach Bill Ma­covik on Sun­day, Sept. 30, 2 p.m. at The Greens at Renton in Sim­coe.

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