Hamilton’s Earl Begg called to Ontario’s basketball hall of fame

TORONTO – Earl Begg, a name synonymous with basketball not only in Hamilton but across Canada, will be inducted into Basketball Ontario’s Hall of Fame.

Begg will enter the hall’s coaches category and will will join five others Basketball Ontario will recognize for their lengthy contributions to the sports as players, media, or builders. The others to be honoured on Sept. 23 in Toronto are Bob Gage (media), Carol Hamilton-Goodale (player), Barry Howson (player), Debbie Huband (player), and Bernie Offstein (builder).

Begg has been influential in basketball in Ontario since the early 1960s coaching club teams to 11 provincial titles. He moved to Mohawk College and was head coach of the women’s program for 20 years (1978-1998) compiling over 300 wins, five Ontario Colleges Athletic Association championships, two Canadian Colleges Athletic Association bronze medals, three OCAA coach of the year awards and one CCAA coach of the year award.

Mohawk recognized Begg’s efforts in 1985 when the college presented him with its Award of Merit. He was later inducted into Mohawk’s Hall of Fame. Internationally, Begg was heavily involved with Canadian Basketball, co-chairing the site for 1976 pre-Olympic facilities and serving as chairman of the “bench crews” for the 1994 World Championships of Basketball. His success and commitment to community basketball development earned him Ontario’s Achievement Award in 1969, 1970 and 1971, recognition from the City of Hamilton and a Certificate of Merit from the Government of Canada in 1987.

Gage, known as Bob “Scoop” Gage is the first media person to be inducted to the Hall of Fame, a recognition well deserved after covering basketball at the high school, university and senior levels for 33 years while at the London Free Press. Gage was a very influential figure as a sports reporter/writer and was instrumental in the development of basketball at the Canadian university level. He often sat on several committees of the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union (now Canadian Interuniversity Sports) including the Top Ten Selection Committee and the Wild Card Selection Committee. He is one of the ‘founding fathers’ of the National Association of Basketball Coaches in Canada and the United States, serving as editor of Tip-Off (the organization’s newsletter).

Gage has received many honours, including the Ontario Achievement Award, the Canadian Sports Advisory Award, and the Honour Award from Basketball Ontario. He is already a member of the Canadian and American basketball halls of fame.

The late Hamilton-Goodale’s playing career took off at while she was a student at Sudbury Secondary School. She led the varsity to two provincial gold medals collecting most valuable player awards in 1980 and 1981. Shel earned the nickname “Ice Woman” for her clutch performances and received a full scholarship to NCAA Big-Ten Conference powerhouse Ohio State.

At Ohio State she started as a freshman earning the Student/Athlete award and the Buckeyes were Big Ten Conference Co-Champions in her two years there. She finished her university career in her hometown at Laurentian University and in 1984-85 and 1986-87, Laurentian won the silver medal from the Canadian university championships. In the ’84-85 season, she was named MVP.

Hamilton-Goodale was a member of the Canadian National Team for 12 years, played overseas and was drafted by the Houston Comets of the WNBA. Her international career is the most decorated of any Canadian female basketball player. She participated in numerous international tournaments including a memorable bronze medal performance at the 1986 World Championships in the Soviet Union. In addition to her skills as a player, she was a certified coach, a motivational speaker for FAME (Female Athletes Motivating Excellence) and co-founded Home-Court Basketball, a non-profit club program.

Hamilton-Goodale lost her battle with cancer in March 2004.

Howson attended the University of Western Ontario where he is already a member of the school’s Hall of Fame for his basketball playing accomplishments, including MVP awards, scoring championships, and All-Ontario championships.

Considered by many to be the top player in the province throughout his college career, he was also a long time member of Canada’s National Team, participating in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, 1967 Pan-Am Games in Winnipeg, and in 1971 he played for Canada in the World Championships in Yugoslavia.

Howson remains a member of the Master Basketball program that competes in tournaments around the world and was on Canada’s silver medal team at the World Master championships in Sydney, Australia in 1994 where he was named tournament MVP. Howson was also active in the sport at the community level. He was a teacher and basketball coach at St. Pat’s High School in Sarnia for 24 years where he was able to develop many outstanding players. He also coached in the OCAA with Lambton College from 1972-1976 and is a director and coach with the Sarnia Youth Boys’ Travel Basketball Program (16-19 years old). He has been inducted into the Sarnia Sports Hall of Fame.

Huband was a long time member of the Canadian national women’s senior team serving as its captain from 1979 through 1986. During this period she led Canada to a fourth place finish at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and was a member of the teams that captured bronze medals at the 1979 World University Games; 1979 and 1986 World Championships; 1979 and 1987 Pan American Games; 1982 Federations Cup; and 1984 Olympic Qualification Tournament.

Huband was also part of the gold medal team at the 1982 Jones Cup in Taiwan as well as Canada’s silver medal winning squad at the same event in 1985, where she earned Tournament All Star honours.

A graduate of Bishop’s University, she earned Bishop’s Female Athlete of the year, first team Conference All-Star, Conference MVP and first team All-Canadian from 1978 through 1980. Basketball Canada recognized her efforts with the presentation of an Outstanding Achievement award in 1990. Additionally, she has received the Premier’s Athletic award in B.C fours years in a row (1985-1988 and in 1987 she was elected to the Wall of Fame in her hometown of Nepean and inducted into the city of Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.

While nominated in the builder category, Offstein has been active in the sport as a player, coach and official. He was the winner of the 2004 Coach Mac Award presented by the Toronto Raptors in honour of the late legendary coach nJohn McLendon. That award goes to an individual from the Toronto Raptors or Canadian basketball community who through exemplary character and effort has made a major contribution to the sport of basketball while upholding the principals of Coach Mac – honesty, integrity, competitiveness and love of the game.

Offstein was a major contributor to the growth of basketball in Toronto through his affiliation with University of Toronto as an assistant coach, Oakwood Minor Basketball and Toronto High School All-Star Games. He co-founded the Metro Toronto All-Stars who travelled to Windsor to play against out of province and American competition. This experience was a stepping stone for many elite players in the city and a chance to be scouted by American universities. Offstein was very active in the direction of the sport through executive roles with both Basketball Ontario and Basketball Canada. He was part of the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal and instrumental in the fundraising and organization of the 1997 World University Team that went to Sicily. He was involved with the Jewish Community serving as the World Sports Chairman with the Maccabiah Games and supporting the efforts of this movement over a 20 year period. In a professional capacity he was also served as the Director of Security of for the Raptors and NBA Canada.

Offstein died in January 2004.