Steve is the head basketball coach at Simon Fraser University. He graduated from the BPEC program in 2011.
Steve’s route to the BPEC program was a little different from the conventional timeline: he entered Douglas College as a mature student (32 years old) in September 2006, with the objective of becoming a full-time teacher teaching PE and Biology, as well as coaching high school basketball. His initial plan had been to transfer to SFU, but after looking closely at the BPEC program (just newly-offered at the time), he found the program a better fit for his goals.
While enrolled in the BPEC program, Steve found the fieldwork placements an excellent component of its curriculum. Amongst others, his volunteer opportunities included working with the Douglas College men’s basketball team (national champions 2008) and at Riverside Secondary School (for Biology and PE). Following his completion of the BPEC program, he was accepted into SFU’s Professional Development Program (PDP) for its 2012 January intake, and completed the program in December of the same year.
Upon entering PDP with his fellow Douglas graduates, Steve recalls the reassurance and confidence they had – “We were outgoing, enthusiastic, prepared and ready to take on the world!” – because of the practical expertise they gained from the BPEC program. In comparison to the practical foundation Steve already had, most students in PDP were only engaging fieldwork for the first time.
In building his career, Steve notes the importance of building genuine relationships and connections – for him, they became important references down the line. As his time of graduation coincided with the BC teachers’ strike in 2012 (a process which fed into to the slowed hiring period for teaching positions in 2013), getting hired full-time directly out of school was an unlikely scenario. However, Steve notes that he was lucky to get opportunities coaching full-time for a local basketball club, running their academy and elite program.
In regards to the BPEC program, Steve recalls all the capable educators at Douglas that had provided him help and guidance, and made his time in the program a memorable one:
Reflecting on his experiences, Steve also realistically notes the deterrents that came up in his personal journey through the program.
“It’s also important to remember the struggles you’ll face when doing any four-year degree. After my second year, I was waitlisted for biology for the second summer semester in a row. I felt like it was a sign to change my minor or do the elementary stream. I took courses in marketing, English, and Canadian history to broaden my possibilities, but I came back and gutted out biology…barely.”
A particular realization Steve took away from the BPEC program, and one that he keeps in mind today in his development and career as an SFU coach, is the importance of relationships. He says: