B.C. high school rugby coaches, like Lord Byng's Mike Mallette, are part of a rare resource being celebrated by BCSSRU rugby commish Walter van Halst, who has set up free coaching clinics to coincide with B.C.'s Pro D Day this Friday. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2019. All Rights Reserved)
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BCSSRU offers teachers free rugby coaching clinics on Pro-D Day: “Why can’t we develop coaches the same way we develop teachers?” asks commish

SURREY — During the summer, as Walter van Halst contemplated some of the best ways to both recognize and enhance the many dedicated teachers who volunteer their time to coach rugby in B.C. secondary schools, he kept asking himself the same fundamental question.

“Why can’t we develop coaches the same way we develop teachers?” asked the history teacher from Surrey’s Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary, who also happens to double as the commissioner of the B.C. Secondary Schools Rugby Union.

With that in mind, van Halst came up with the idea of the BCSSRU offering a pair of free high-level coaching clinics at two spots around the province this Friday.

The key, of course, is that the clinics coincide with the province-wide Professional Development Day in place at secondary schools around B.C.,

On a day in which the so-called pro-D has centred around a myriad of other education-related topics, those who embrace the value of the teacher-coach in the high school system, can perhaps celebrate a little victory that their efforts are being recognized in the grand scheme of things.

The clinics will be held at both Shawnigan Lake School on Vancouver Island and at Clarence Fulton Secondary in Vernon.

Between sessions and lunch, each clinic will run from approximately 9:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.

UBC Thunderbirds’ head men’s rugby coach Curry Hitchborn gives back to B.C. high school rugby community this Friday. (Photo by Ben Nelms provided courtesy of UBC athletics 2019. All rights reserved)

Presenters at the two clinics include some of the most renowned coaches in B.C.

In the Okanagn, they will include new Pacific Pride boss and Rugby Canada stalwart Jamie Cudmore, as well as UBC Thunderbirds’ Curry Hitchborn.

On Vancouver Island, Canadian internationals Ander Monro, Ray Barkwill, Jeff Williams, Ian Hyde-Lay and Laura Russell, among others, will feature at Shawnigan. 

For those wishing to attend and for a full breakdown of clinic schedules at each location:

For the Vancouver Island clinic, contact Ian Hyde-Lay by clicking ian.hydelay@smus.ca

For the Okanagan clinic, contact Stephen Rowell by clicking stephen.rowell61@gmail.com

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