Bill Coulthard in good company

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Bill Coulthard is in good company.

Honoured posthumously by Basketball Canada, Tillsonburg’s elder statesman of hoops, represented at the Air Canada Centre’s centre court Friday evening by his son David, joined Andrea Blackwell and Candace Clarkson in this year’s Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame’s induction class.

To the trio’s left, the Toronto Raptors warmed up for the second half of what ultimately would be a 98-91 victory in the club’s Ninth Annual Canada Day game.

To their right, budding Cleveland Cavaliers stars Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett, drafted fourth and first overall, respectively, proved Canadians are having a growing role both at the university level and in the NBA.

And in the stands, scores of supporters from his adopted community had driven or bussed in from Tillsonburg to join 20 Coulthard family members for a special, if brief and arguably overdue halftime ceremony.

“It was a great honour to begin with,” said his daughter Carol Dodsley, of Brownsville. “And the support of Tillsonburg people coming, was wonderful.”

“It’s a single night, but it’s really a recognition of things he did over 10 or 15 years,” said David Coulthard. “That night really is the culmination of that.”

The Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame induction comes on top of earlier inclusion into the Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame. Although ill at the time, Bill walked on stage in front of his whole family to give what his son Chris recalls was an ‘eloquent’ acceptance speech. Although a humble man, Bill appreciated the honour from an organization which, perhaps influenced by the close proximity of the U.S. border, takes athletic excellence very seriously.

“For him, that was a very special place,” said Chris, who

wore his father’s 1952 Olympics blazer, complete with Olympic crest and pin, and golden buttons inscribed with a Canadian maple leaf (“They did it up right,” Chris credited) to Friday’s ceremony, in memory of what Chris says Bill considered his athletic highlight.

A number of members from that team and experience have been inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame previously, which believes David, speaks to the impact that team had on the sport in Canada at that time. But with the passage of time, its recollection, and the odds of recognizing Bill Coulthard’s contribution appeared to have faded.

“There are people there who go back a long time,” credits Chris, who believes Friday’s induction would have represented the ‘last cherry on the cake,’ for his father. “I really believe he was the real deal. It (induction) did happen and I think the whole family is very happy it did.”

“It would have been a great honour for him, I think he certainly deserves to be there and I think he would have enjoyed it a lot,” added David.

The fact the award is posthumous does not however, take away from its memory, or the Coulthard family’s appreciation.

“Everyone was thrilled when they heard about it,” said David.

The fact Bill’s love of the game has passed on down through not just one, but two subsequent generations, a foundation, or family tradition so to speak, made it even more special for assembled clan members Friday.

“It’s one of those things, you don’t live basketball every single day,” said David. “But when you’ve got that in your background, I think that honour means an awful lot.

“To see it come to its conclusion, that sort of generates the pride the family has in it.”

“Maybe he does know,” Chris added. “But I think his family would say it’s deserved – it finally happened and he is deserving.”



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