Coaches Week Spotlight: Ken Fitzgerald
September 23rd, 2021
(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 there 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 Ken Fitzgerald! Ken coaches at the club level for the Belleville Bulldogs and coaches Loyalist College at the College/University level. He is also one of the coaches in the Ontario Blues High Performance Program. Read below to learn more about Ken!
How did you first get involved with rugby?
Ken: Right after college I returned to my local high school to help the boys and girls teams.
What is your favourite rugby memory?
Ken: Winning OCAA Bronze with my Loyalist College Women's 7 team. First year many of the them playing 7's and it was huge for them and the College.
What do you love most about the sport?
Ken: The sportsmanship. You play your heart out then spend time with your opposite number enjoying the sport.
What made you want to become a coach?
Ken: I wanted to help promote the sport and see more local players get involved with our club here in Belleville (Bulldogs).
Growing up, who was your favourite coach and why?
Ken: I had three. In high school, I had Tom Gauthier and Ray Hanley. I was tiny and they made me come out to play and show me that everyone of every size has a job. The other was my long time club coach Rob Cooke. After high school I continued playing club and he reshaped the way I looked and played the game. He made me the player I am today.
What challenges comes with being a coach?
Ken: I think the biggest challenge is making sure that in the end we are all still leaving happy and looking forward to the next session. If it's not fun is loses the culture piece.
What challenges has coaching during the COVID-19 pandemic presented?
Ken: You can only Zoom so much and do the drills so much. I found athletes becoming less and less focused because there was not a competition to work toward .
What have you learned during the pandemic that can help you grow as a coach?
What is your favourite part about coaching?
Ken: The culture and just the general feeling of accomplishment. When athletes become smarter players and are seeing the game in a more tactical and challenging sport. I also work along side some the best people in the sport. All the coaches I work with are family to me.
How have you changed as a coach over your career?
Ken: Success is great but I have become more into enjoying the process.
What would you say to someone who is considering getting into coaching?
Ken: Be careful, once you start you will never leave!
What are your goals as you move forward in your coaching career?
Ken: To continue to work with great athletes and wonderful coaches and absorb as much knowledge as I can, then pass it on the next generation.
Interested in becoming a 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.
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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.
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