Alberni District Secondary School volleyball coach Bob Matlock has earned a prestigious provincial sports award. Matlock won a B.C. School Sports Association Merit Award for his dedication to school sports.
The Merit Award is presented to an individual recognizing their outstanding service to a local association or sports commission executive. It is also presented as acknowledgment for long service as a coach, sponsor, administrator or official at the school level.
Matlock first got involved in coaching senior football and Grade 8 boys’ volleyball as a student-teacher while completing his Bachelor of Education at the University of Regina. Shortly after getting his degree Matlock moved to Port Alberni where he got his first teaching job at Alberni District Secondary (ADSS) in 1974. He has taught there ever since.
Matlock began coaching Grade 8 boys’ volleyball and basketball at ADSS, but it was not long before he moved on to coach girls’ volleyball, which has been the highlight of his coaching career. He has enjoyed taking on a new group of student-athletes in Grade 8 and coaching them all the way through their Grade 12 season, qualifying for provincials several times.
When asked what his favourite school sport memory was, he said it was “the sense of family that developed with our teams, as well as the many connections and friendships I have made throughout the province while attending tournaments and provincial championships.”
Matlock’s commitment to school sport didn’t stop at volleyball. He was asked to coach the school golf team when the previous coach retired, and quickly agreed. A few years into coaching the golf team Matlock was asked to join the BCSS Golf Commission executive, where he has been a mainstay for the past 40 years.
During his time as golf commissioner Matlock was instrumental in maintaining a professional look and feel to the B.C. High School Golf Championship. He did through collaboration with coaches, zone reps and other partners in the golfing community. In addition to coordinating countless BCSS provincial golf championship he has also handled the finances of the golf commission.
“Matlock exudes a calm, inclusive and professional attitude which players and coaches’ value and respect,” a BCSS spokesperson noted.
Throughout his career, Matlock’s life has been full with teaching and the numerous hours he volunteers to the school sport community. He has managed to find time to enjoy some recreational sports in his community, and being from a small town he found himself playing sports with some of the students that he taught during his first years at ADSS.
Matlock gave credit and thanks to thank Jack Gilbert, who was the principal at ADSS that hired him and started him into his career as an educator. Others he thanked include Bill McDonald, Neil Murray and Syd Sharp, all prior members of the BCSGA executive as well as the present executive.
Matlock plans to retire in the near future, but “not until I can see my last girls’ volleyball team complete their senior season, hopefully this fall.”
Matlock was one of three people the school sports association honoured this month. Paul Thiessen of Okanagan Mission Secondary also received a BCSS Merit Award, and Sue Thorne of Prince Charles Secondary received a BCSS Honour Award, the highest form of distinction BCSS bestows upon an individual.