British Columbia

Thousands sign petition to honour late B.C. basketball coach Rich Goulet

"If you picked up a basketball in the last 40 years in British Columbia, you know the name Rich Goulet and you know what he stands for."

Goulet, who died at 74 in late March, coached high-school basketball in B.C. for 50 years

Rich Goulet coached basketball for more than 50 years in B.C., mostly at Pitt Meadows Secondary School. (Abbotsford Basketball/Facebook)

More than 3,700 people have signed a petition to recognize a beloved B.C. high school basketball coach by renaming his home gym after him. 

Rich Goulet, 74, died on March 28.

He had been a prolific coach, spending the last 50 years coaching, the last 39 of which were at Pitt Meadows Secondary School. 

There, he built a much-admired high school basketball program, allowing the small town to capture the B.C. Basketball AAA championship in 1989 and 2000.

Goulet was inducted into the B.C. Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.

Doug and Colin Plumb, brothers who both played for Goulet at the high school, started the change.org petition to recognize their late coach by renaming the Pitt Meadows Secondary School Gym after him.

"If you picked up a basketball in the last 40 years in British Columbia, you know the name Rich Goulet and you know what he stands for," said Doug Plumb.

Goulet was inducted into B.C.'s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012. (Pitt Meadows Marauder Air Force Boys Alumni/Change.org)

The brothers remembered their late coach as someone who could be gruff on the sidelines, but who would be there whenever you needed — noting his red truck would be parked in the school parking lot from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. 

"He was demanding without being demeaning," said Doug Plumb. 

"If he didn't feel like you were up to snuff in that moment, he would definitely challenge you, but he was also there behind the scenes and willing to put in the work for you."

"He instilled tremendous dedication and perseverance in me," said Colin Plumb.

The brothers, and thousand of others who have signed their petition, are hoping to have Goulet recognized for putting Pitt Meadows basketball on the map. 

It might prove difficult.

In a statement to Plumb, the Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge School District said that renaming facilities within a school is usually not done. 

"Throughout SD42's history, there have been countless amazing educators, coaches and staff members who have each made an impact in their own way ... with only a limited number of buildings, properly honouring these contributions through the naming of facilities would be a challenge," it read.

Colin Plumb says Goulet's legacy deserves an exemption. 

"We just feel like these are extenuating circumstances, exceptional circumstances. Rich Goulet's honours should not be ignored." 

Listen to the segment on CBC's The Early Edition

Doug and Colin Plumb speak with Michelle Eliot about honouring longtime head coach Rich Goulet. 7:45

With files from The Early Edition

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