Star file photo
When Randy Alexander arrived at Stephenville High School back in 2000, there were only three sports offered to students on a consistent basis.
The physical education teacher and athletic director quickly began working towards remedying that situation.
When he was a teacher in Prince Edward Island, he said the school he worked at offered every sport they could, at least 10-12 of them, so everyone could likely find something they were interested in.
“At least you had a chance to play one of the sports you liked, as opposed to going through high school without playing sports because it was a limited program,” he said.
Now, in the 15 years since, Stephenville High has become a model school in that regard, offering 10 or 11 sports each year and winning 60 provincial banners, 25 team sportsmanship awards, with at least 10 students claiming provincial student-athlete of the year honours. Alexander himself has led by example, coaching slo-pitch softball, soccer, hockey, badminton, and track and field.
“It’s just a matter of organizing ... and actually putting the sport out there for people to latch on to,” he said.
Alexander was recently recognized for his efforts by School Sports Newfoundland and Labrador, receiving both the Coaching Service award and Honour award. The coaching award is self-explanatory, basically an honour for the countless hours he’s spent behind the bench or on the sidelines guiding athletes. The honour award is for his dedication to the athletic program at the high school in general.
“I was honoured and humbled,” Alexander said of the awards.
He said, like most coaches, he never did any of it for recognition, but he certainly appreciates the sentiment behind it. When he looks at the success athletes from the school have achieved, he can’t help but feel pride in what they were able to accomplish, particularly at the provincial level, for such a relatively small school.
“That’s not indicative of me,” he said. “That’s indicative of the program we offer where students can participate in as many sports as they can.”
But, of course, the quality of the program is mainly due to his efforts.
As the 54-year-old Stephenville Crossing native prepares to retire this month, he can be confident that he left his mark on the school and on the many students who were able to excel in athletics under his guidance.