Two Amherstburg residents inducted into University of Windsor Alumni Sports Hall of Fame

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A pair of Amherstburg residents have been inducted as part of this year’s class in the University of Windsor Alumni Sports Hall of Fame.

Ritch Coughlin and Stephen Gibb were recently inducted into the Hall of Fame. The ceremony was held earlier in October.

Coughlin graduated from the University of Windsor’s human kinetics program 1986. He played football at and ran track and field for four years while in university. Since graduating, Coughlin was an assistant coach for the track and field team from 1989-98, an assistant football coach in 1994 and 1995 and has also coached many other athletes including Lancer long jump and triple jump record holder Kelly Dinsmore as well as three others who made over 6m in the women’s long jump for the first and only time in OUA history in 1995.

Coughlin has also won other awards, including the Gino Fracas Coaching Award in 1996, the Lancer “A” Award in 1985-86 and was the Canada Summer Games opening ceremonies flagbearer in 1986.

Ritch Coughlin (Photo by Dongjie Lai)

As for being inducted into the Alumni Sports Hall of Fame, Coughlin said he was “honoured and humbled” but it was “great to represent track and field program especially the jumper group that I worked with for ten years.”

Coughlin said he received a call a few months ago about the award. He said he was proud at first but his second reaction was “an uncomfortable feeling of being singled out in front of so many other worthy candidates through the years. I spoke with Steve Gibb about this and he felt the same.”

Coughlin added he never gave such an award a thought.

“My successes were really the successes of the student athletes and was always proud of their growth and improvement in the sport. The Hall of Fame stuff was never on the radar,” he said.

Noting he is “proud to represent and bring light to the amazing accomplishments of the kids I worked with,” Coughlin said one of them is in the Hall of Fame and his goal is to get more recognized in the future.

Coughlin still coaches a few high school track athletes and also managed the Amherstburg bantam travel baseball team that won a provincial title a few years ago. He still runs marathons and half-marathons.

Gibb played volleyball, basketball and did track at General Amherst High School before moving on to the University of Windsor where he played track and volleyball.

“It’s been 32 years since I graduated so the experience of reflecting on those distant memories has been very nostalgic,” said Gibb. “It’s nice to be recognized for your achievements and contributions and I really am proud to be part of the track and field legacy at the University of Windsor. But to be honest, I never thought I’d get the call.”

Gibb stated this award didn’t exist until after he graduated so he wasn’t even aware of it until he was nominated a few years ago.

“In the intervening years, the university has built some really strong track and field teams and I felt my time had passed and the dust had settled on the small mark I left on the program. So, I was pretty shocked when I got the news,” he said. “I was involved with the track team from 81-86 and played on the men’s varsity volleyball team from ’84-’86 so this was a few years ago. Being recognized for my track contributions would have made more sense to me back then instead of today, but I do still hold the fifth best all-time high jump mark and ninth best triple jump mark for the University of Windsor, so I had that going for me.”

Steve Gibb (Photo by Dongjie Lai)

Gibb pointed out he won the OUA provincial championships in high jump and has more than a dozen other OUA medals for high jump and triple jump, both indoors and outdoors. He was fourth at the Canadian championships a number of times. In 1984, Gibb was awarded the Demarco Award at the University of Windsor for being top male student athlete.

“The Hall of Fame nod was pretty sweet especially getting to share the day with my old pal, teammate and training partner Ritch Coughlin,” said Gibb.

Gibb said he never did compete in track after university, which at that time seemed the norm.

“Today athletes compete into their mid ’30s and older,” he said. “I continued playing volleyball until my knees started yelling at me, but now I really like walking and people always comment they’ve seen me around my neighbourhood with my wife Jacquie.”

 

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