While Scott Doan’s name is already synonymous with high school basketball in Red Deer, one school has taken another step to honour the late Hunting Hills Lightning coach.
Doan passed away in November of 2015 and was deeply involved with the Lightning basketball program – when their annual tournament starts Friday it will be played in his name.
The Scott Doan Memorial basketball tournament gets underway Friday at Hunting Hills High School and senior girls head basketball coach Jill de Jonge said Wednesday she’s happy to see what the school is doing for him.
“I think it’s completely appropriate. I wish we could do more,” de Jonge said.
“Ideally it would be awesome if we could start raising money for cancer awareness or research. I just think it’s great we can honour him in this way and I know he would appreciate it. He’d be humbled by it. He seemed like a hard man, but he was just a softie at heart.”
Doan started his coaching career in Red Deer in 1988 at Camille J. Lerouge High School.
He then moved to Hunting Hills from 2002 to 2015, where he wore many hats but was mainly the senior basketball coach.
Doan also spent time as JV boys, grade 9 boys and grade 9 girls. He even from time-to-time was found coaching football.
In 2014 he received the City of Red Deer’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the Red Deer Community Sports Awards.
De Jonge was the athletic director for some of the time Doan coached and she said she remembers him taking on the job of coaching two teams in the same season, just another day at the office for a man who loved the game.
“When you’re short coaches and to find good coaches, is tough. When you’re short and you have someone who’s willing to give up that much time and happily do it, it’s amazing,” she said.
“He was just a fantastic man. He loved to talk basketball. I love to talk basketball so it was a natural connection there.”
She also foundly remembers the late basketball coach’s dedication to family. His wife Leslie will still scorekeep games at Hunting Hills on occasion and his sons, Ryan and Zach still referee.
De Jonge also added that Doan was an inspiring figure who had an immense passion for coaching and was always able to get the most out of his teams, both on and off the court.
”His teams were always so tough and hard working,” she said.
“They had to have been easily the best conditioned teams in the league. It was because of the style of play he would make them play. It was just a high-tempo, pressure defence. As well as, he held them accountable for being good people. It wasn’t just about basketball.”
Both Hunting Hills senior teams will open the tournament on Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. against Grande Prairie.