When Ryan Hall found out he won the Coach of the Year award through The Province newspaper’s online contest, he was honoured and humbled. Winning with the highest number of votes over other coaches in B.C., it was Hall’s long-term dedication to the female rugby team at ADSS that clinched the title for him.
“It is one of those things that I felt honoured just to be nominated,” Hall said.
“There was an amazing response from Port Alberni and I found out after that votes were coming in from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland because I have family there.”
Hall was made aware of the win before anyone else, but had to keep quiet until the newspaper made an official announcement.
He recently attended a photo shoot in Nanaimo with a professional photographer who regularly takes photos for some top athletes.
“That was interesting because I thought it would just be one photo, but it took about two hours,” Hall said.
Hall said it was amazing to see how the community rallied around him and he even had people approach him in Walmart wishing him luck. He said, too, that he knows the people of Port Alberni are known for their support of every worthy community member.
“I know there are a lot of people who do the same things as I do,” Hall said.
“Everyone who works with children put in countless hours between travel time and organizational time. This is a community award, not just mine.”
To add to his words, Hall is donating his prize money to the ADSS girls’ rugby team.
The contest win included $750 to be used toward team expenses and $250 for himself. He said it will be better served with the team.
“We are planning a trip to California next year so I want to give my portion to a girl in need for travel costs,” Hall said.
“I want to make it easier for someone who might not otherwise have the chance to go.”
At the end of the season, Hall hopes his influence will have an impact on the players, not only for their future careers, but in their individual roles in the community.
“As an educator, my job is to try to make them well-rounded, critical thinking individuals,” he said.
“There is a community spirit tradition instilled in rugby. They understand it is a game and afterwards, have dinner with the other team.”
Hall has no sisters so coaching the girls for the past 11 years has been a learning experience for himself as well.
“They have taught me patience and consideration,” he said.
This summer, Hall intends to take a break from rugby as he prepares for his wedding in August, but he will be back on the field for the 2016/17 school year.