John was born in Corner Brook and graduated from Regina High School in Corner Brook in 1967. He graduated from Memorial University in the spring of 1972 with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education Degree. In September 1972 John accepted a teaching position at St. Joseph’s School in Harbour Breton and taught at that school until he retired in 2003.
John does not have a Physical Education background and his only volleyball experience prior to beginning his teaching career was playing intramural volleyball at MUN. The Rothermere “G” Team was formed to acquire participation points for the house and this team was not recognized for their volleyball skills.
St. Joseph’s All Grade School had a student population of approximately 300. The school did not have the services of a Physical Education Teacher and John spent countless hours in the gym coaching students. This is where John’s love for the game of volleyball began. John’s early coaching experience was at the
varsity level where he coached senior boys and girls volleyball teams. He developed a strong intramural volleyball program at the school and all students were encouraged to participate. John coached high school volleyball for approximately 25 years and he used his private vehicle to bring students to tournaments. Many times using his own money for gas along the way.
St. Joseph’s School was classified by the High School Federation as an “A” School. Despite being an “A” school the volleyball program at this small school captured Provincial “2A” and “3A” championships and a Silver Medal at the “4A” Level. The senior boys’ volleyball team also participated and won medals at the NLVA sponsored tournaments. The most noted volleyball title captured by this small rural school was a Volleyball Gold Medal in Wabush, Labrador during the 1982 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games. The team won this gold medal with a roster of just 7 players. St. Joseph’s also won a Silver Medal in Corner Brook during the 1986 NL Winter Games. St. Joseph’s also represented the province at Eastern Canadian Championships.
The most celebrated invitational volleyball tournament in the Coast of Bays Region is the Harbour Breton invitational tournament. John is a cofounder, along with Churence Rogers, of this tournament and in 2011 the tournament celebrated 25 years of hosting volleyball in this community. John has also refereed at this tournament and others in the area as a rated volleyball official, since retiring from the teaching profession.
Over the years, John has received awards and has been recognized for his dedication to the game of volleyball. He was named Patron of the Grand Falls-Windsor Paper Making Classic Volleyball Tournament in October 1999 and he is a recipient of a 3M Coaching Recognition Award. Some of the players who were coached by John went on to play for MUN and others participated at the provincial senior level.
John is also actively involved in his community. He is a Charter member of the Knights of Columbus Council in Harbour Breton and is a Past Grand Knight. He served this organization as a District Deputy and was named Knight of the Year. John was nominated for citizen of the year in 2011 and was awarded Citizen of Year for Harbour Breton in 1980.
John has certainly made a significant contribution as a builder and coach for the sport of volleyball in his community and he fulfils all of the criteria established to qualify for this prestigious recognition.