Scott Doan has dedicated the past 35 years of his life to coaching basketball.
On Thursday he received much deserved recognition when he was presented with the City of Red Deer’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Red Deer Community Sports Awards at the Sheraton Red Deer.
“I’m overwhelmed and honoured . . . I didn’t expect this,” he said.
Born and raised in Niagara Falls, Ont., Doan moved to Alberta in 1979 and got his first coaching position in 1980.
“I was in St. Paul and they didn’t have a basketball coach and they heard that I coached,” he explained. “I didn’t, but they asked if I would help out and I started to like it. That’s where I mentioned it was a selfish act as I do it because I like it for me.”
Doan joked during his acceptance speech that it was a selfish act “because I love it not because of what the kids get out of it.”
Of course that’s the furthest thing from the truth. He’s coached 100s of kids over the years and enjoyed every minute of it.
“I’ve been blessed to have so many great kids, wonderful parents and worked with great coaches. I’ve received so much support, especially over the last few months.”
Doan, who is the head coach of the Hunting Hills Lightning senior boys’ team, has been battling cancer, but missed very few of the team’s games.
He had a tumor removed and is going through chemotherapy, which will last until the end of July.
“I’ll know more by then,” he said.
But if he has his way he’ll continue on the bench.
“I won’t know until the fall, whichever way the cards fall, but I hope to continue coaching,” he said.
He used a quote from the great UCLA coach John Wooden during his speech. “Wooden said ‘what happens in your life is not that important it’s how you deal with it.’ Over the last few months I’ve learned that in every situation you handle it with dignity and with as much class as you can and most important to me, is that I like to laugh, and you need a sense of humour.”
Doan moved to Red Deer in 1988 and was recruited as a coach for the Camille J. Lerouge High School Cougars by Duane Donovan. He went with the high school to Notre Dame and in 2002 switched to the Lightning.
Doan also worked with the club basketball and has coached in the spring league for years, although this year he’s taking a step back.
“That’s what I tell myself,” he said. “Ryan (his son) will be coaching and I can see myself going out to watch and before I know it I’ll open my mouth, that’s the way I am,” he said with a laugh.
“But really I don’t want to be coaching and not feeling well . . . we’ll see how it goes.”
Doan coached both of his sons — Ryan and Zach — over the years and both have followed in their dad’s footsteps and are involved in basketball and in the community.
“I believe in giving back to the community and my sons are now doing the same, unfortunately they’re doing it from the dark side as referees,” he joked.
Doan and his wife, Leslie, have been married for 27 years, and he calls her a second coach.
“She’s an assistant who isn’t on the bench,” he said with a smile. “We’ve been together for so long when I open my mouth to yell at a player she already has told him the same thing.”
Doan still has one more coaching duty this season as he’ll handle the boys’ Dark team at the 3A-4A Central Alberta Senior Bowl Tuesday at Lindsay Thurber.
“It will be interesting as I have one boy from Wetaskiwin whose father I coached for three years and my two sons will be officiating,” concluded Doan.
l A number of youngsters were recognized during the evening.
Receiving U12 certificates were Isaac Aspinall and Ella Collins of the Red Deer Tennis Club, Myra Freeman and Kia Risling of the Red Deer Synchronized Swim Club, Lindsay Hall and Molly Simpson of the Red Deer BMX Club, and Taylor Macleod and Kendall Thomas of the Red Deer Skating Club,.
Picking up U15 certificates were Ireland Black of minor basketball, Tyrees Goodrunning of minor hockey, Coleman Komula and Taye Neish of BMX, Kallan Packard and Mercedes Patrick of synchronized swimming, Michael Robinson and Tereza Simonova of the tennis club and Bailey Thomas and Zoe Thompson of the skating club.