In their own words, the Tupper Tigers celebrate their coach
Curated from the Vancouver Courier.
“In the beginning, nobody really cared.” Jack Ho was in Grade 11 at Tupper secondary and playing for the senior boys basketball team in 2003, the first season Jeff Gourley volunteered to coach the Tigers.
“It was tough for him to come to a team like that because we didn’t really care either. We just thought he was another guy who was going to sit on the bench. No one wanted to coach. I actually had to go find our own coach. Randomly, I asked an old Tupper student to come and do it and told him he just had to show up and we’ll do the rest.
“I don’t know how [Gourley] ended up at Tupper. He was good for us. He gave us gym time. Him coming in, he wasn’t just a coach — he actually cared. He cared about us doing well, he cared about us putting in work and doing well. He didn’t just leave it to us.
“I kind of got in trouble in Grade 12… for shoplifting.” Ho stole a wallet from a neighbourhood mall.
“I was really embarrassed and didn’t know what to do. He took me in. He was like a dad. Talked to the police officers, had me do community service with him. He got the police to agree to let me do community service with him. That’s when I would do all the things at elementary schools, like basketball demonstrations. Afterwards, even when I finished [community service], I still decided to do it because he helped me out so much.”
“He was the kind of guy that, even if you made a mistake, he didn’t want to you compound that mistake.” Warren Leung graduated in 2011 and played two years at St. Mary’s University, also Gourley’s alma mater.
“Coach, he’s a real father figure. Straight up like another dad to me. Taught me everything on and off the court and about being a man. He would teach you things while you’re going through it. I didn’t even know what I was going through, and he taught me in a big way without me knowing. He would let me learn on my own… but would somehow guide me. He’s always putting kids first, before anything. That’s what’s crazy — he’s doing all this coaching, he’s not getting paid for none of this. That’s why I say he’s like a father to me.”
Read the remainder of this Vancouver Courier article by clicking this link.