Port Coquitlam resident Bruce Langford had no idea what to say when he was informed last week that he’d been inducted into the Basketball BC Hall of Fame.
“Am I supposed to retire?” the 60-year-old Langford said laughingly of his initial response. “Usually you get something like this at the end of your career… I still like what I do.”
What Langford does is coach basketball –– very well. Currently in his 11th season guiding the Simon Fraser University women’s team, he has racked up an astonishing career record of 276-60 with the Clan. After their first nine years under Langford in Canadian Interuniversity Sport, the Clan won five national championships before joining the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (NCAA Div. 2).
He is a two-time recipient of the CIS coach of the year award and also won Basketball BC’s top coaching honour twice, having steered the provincial women’s Under-19 team to gold medals at the Canada Summer Games in 1997 and 2001.
Describing himself back then as “a bad combination of both shy and introverted,” Langford originally started coaching volleyball at what was then Mission junior high school at the urging of a fellow teacher.
“I knew very little about basketball back then so I started to attend [basketball] camps and clinics and it just started to snowball,” said Langford, who went on to coach girls’ hoop teams at Hatzic secondary school, which captured the 1994 B.C. AA title, and later Heritage Park, which claimed back-to-back provincial AAA crowns in 2000 and 2001.
But it’s been Langford’s incredible success in the university ranks that has taken him to elite coaching status.
“This is outstanding news,” said Tim Rahilly, SFU Associate Vice-president, Students. “Bruce has had a long and distinguished career at SFU. He’s done an outstanding job recruiting while always being competitive and focusing on the student-athlete experience.”
Joining Langford in the Hall this year in the Official category is another PoCo resident, Dean McKinnon, who’s been a basketball referee for more than 40 years.
McKinnon has been a fixture at provincial and national tournament games since the 1970s and has been a director of Wheelchair Sports for three decades. He was also chosen BC Wheelchair Basketball official of the year in 2000, 2005 and 2010.
Accompanying Langford in the Coach category is Rich Goulet, whose in his 33rd year of heading up the heralded Pitt Meadows Marauders boys hoop program. Langford, whose brother Paul coaches the Riverside Rapids senior girls high school squad, becomes one of 15 coaches now in the Hall.
Tracie McAra (Sibbald) enters as an Athlete after winning three consecutive CIAU national women’s championships (1980-82) as a member of the Victoria Vikettes. Other entries into this year’s Hall, in the Builder sect, are North Delta’s John Buis and Dan Miscisco of North Vancouver, along with the 1972-73 UBC Thunderbirds women’s basketball team that went 24-1 and included seven Canadian national team members and four future Olympians.