Coach Spotlight: Ian Fitzgerald
September 23rd, 2020
(Whitby, ON) - National Coaches Week is an annual campaign lead by the Coaching Association of Canada. Coaches week is an opportunity to recognize coaches for the integral role they play by taking the time to recognize and thank them for all their efforts. Join in on the week by recognizing your favourite coach on social media using the hashtag #ThanksCoach. Tag Rugby Ontario in the post so we can recognize them as well!
In celebration of National Coaches Week, Rugby Ontario is profiling coaches from across the Ontario rugby community. Today’s profile is on Ian Fitzgerald. Ian is a coach with the Norfolk Harvesters and serves as a coach for the U16 Girls Ontario Jr. Blues 15s and 7s Programs. Read more about Ian’s story and stay tuned to Rugby Ontario’s social media channels for more National Coaches Week content
1. How did you first get involved with rugby?
I first got introduced to rugby by my high school geography teacher. He graduated from Laurier, where he played, and started a junior boys program to complement our Senior team.
2. What is your favourite rugby memory?
My favourite rugby memory was coaching the NRU girls 7s team to a Paris World Games gold medal in 2019. We had a fantastic core group of girls who were in their final year of junior rugby and this was their farewell tour. We ended up beating the U18 Irish National team in the finals to avenge our only loss in pool play.
3. What do you love most about the sport?
I’d say what I love most about the sport is the universal camaraderie the whole community demonstrates.
4. What made you want to become a coach?
I would say that my father was a big influence in why I became a coach. From as early as I can remember I would tag along to track and cross country meets with him. Then in high school a family friend invited me to coach hockey with him and I was instantly hooked to coaching.
5. Growing up, who was your favourite coach and why?
My favourite coach growing up was my junior boys rugby coach (mentioned above). He was super passionate about the sport and taught us about some of the unique aspects of our sport, inviting a touring side to play us the summer after our first high school season.
6. What challenges comes with being a coach?
There are endless challenges in coaching; too many to really address one specific challenge. However, that is one of the appeals to it. Working with a group of people to overcome challenges is part of the excitement.
7. What is your favourite part about coaching?
My favourite part of coaching is working with young people and helping them through their development to achieve a common goal. I love the process of learning that comes with coaching, both for players and staff. As a teacher it is a lifelong passion. To see the practical application of coaching and the direct correlation to my job in the classroom is really rewarding.
8. How have you grown during your time as a coach?
To be honest looking back on when I started coaching it is actually rather embarrassing to think about those early years. The old adage is accurate “you coach the way you were coached!” So, there was far more yelling in those days. I have had the privilege to work with some absolutely amazing people who I look to as mentors who have helped me grow in my craft... Colette McAuley, Jen Boyd, Dan Valley, Sean Dunleavy, Sandro Fiorino, Darrell Devine to name a few. It would be remiss of me if I did not send them all a huge shout out here!
9. What would you say to someone who is considering getting into coaching?
Hone your craft! Become a lifelong learner and surround yourself with good people.
10. What are your goals as you move forward in your coaching career?
To simply continue to learn. There are so many great coaches and resources out there. So just continue to refine my craft. I’m also excited to help some former players begin their journey into coaching, helping to mentor them and pay it forward through this sport which has given me so much!
Interested in becoming a certified coach? Visit our Becoming a Coach webpage for all coaching information.
Visit the Rugby Ontario Coaching Corner page for coaching videos and other teaching materials.
ABOUT THE ONTARIO BLUES
The Ontario Blues program is the high performance representative program for male and female rugby players in Ontario. Rugby Ontario is represented at the provincial level by the Ontario Blues. The program includes representative teams from Under-15 to Senior in both Women’s and Men’s Fifteens and Under-18 Men's and Women's Sevens. Specifically, the program is designed to develop and showcase rugby players for Canadian representative national teams.
ABOUT RUGBY ONTARIO
Rugby Ontario is the provincial sports governing body responsible for the organization of rugby in Ontario. Our mission is to establish a stronger identity for rugby in Ontario by promoting the sport’s core values and by fostering a culture of inclusiveness and excellence on and off the field of play.
To learn more, visit https://www.rugbyontario.com/
WANT MORE INFORMATION?
Communications and Marketing Coordinator - Rugby Ontario