“Coaches teach important lessons in life… reliability, honesty, team building, life skills and values” Bob Bearpark
Robert ‘Bob’ Edward Bearpark 1943 – 1996
Bob Bearpark embarked on a career in teaching and coaching in the southwest of England where he was a well-known athlete, physical educator and coach in the counties of Gloucestershire and Devon. Bob became a mentor for many as he taught Physical Education and was an athlete and coach in several sports. His soccer (football) coaching career began in the United Kingdom before earning a place as a staff coach with the English Football Association. In 1975 Bob moved to Canada to study at the University of Western Ontario (London) where he completed a Masters in Physical Education.
Bob later moved to Hamilton, Ontario where he became Assistant Professor at McMaster University’s School of Physical Education and coached the Men’s University Varsity Soccer Team.
In 1980 Bob became Technical Director of the Ontario Soccer Association where he served for three years prior to joining the Canadian Soccer Association. As Assistant Coach to then Head Coach, Tony Waiters, Bob helped lead the Men’s National Team to a 4th place finish at the 1984 Great Wall of China Tournament. Bob also became Head Coach of the Men’s Olympic Soccer Team that qualified for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Together Coaches Waiters and Bearpark also lead Canada to qualify for the 1986 Men’s World Cup of Soccer in Mexico City.
In 1989 Bob moved to British Columbia where he spent six years as Director of Sports Services for the Province of BC serving in the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.
During this time Bob shared his vision for a regional sport delivery system that would provide community coaching support throughout British Columbia. After an extensive community-based consultation process, Bob’s vision was brought to life when the foundation for PacificSport was first established in 1993.
Bob’s untimely death on November 18, 1996 left much of what he wished to do for sport and coaching in our province unfinished. It was his wish that a legacy for coaching education and development continue through the work of so many in the province who believed in the power of sport, recreation and coaching. As a memorial legacy the Bearpark Foundation was established in Victoria at the ‘Celebration of Life for Bob Bearpark’ held at Government House on February 8, 1997.
2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the Bearpark Foundation and to date over 500 Coaching Awards and Bursaries totalling over $145,000 have been awarded to BC coaches from the Grassroots to International levels through partner organizations including the Coaching Association of BC; viaSport British Columbia; Douglas College School of Physical Education and Coaching; and the National Coaching Institute-Victoria now the Canadian Sport Institute-Pacific.
Following his death Bob was inducted twice into The Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum both as a Builder of the game (2006) and as Coach of a Team of Distinction – the 1984 Men’s Olympic Team.
Bob’s legacy to sport and coaching lives on in the lives of many. Those who knew him remember his lifelong dedication to recreation, sport, education and coaching and his passionate commitment to the ongoing professional development of coaches in this country.
Bob is fondly remembered as a sport visionary whose commitment to fair play and sport from the Community to International levels continues to motivate others. Bob was a unique athlete, teacher, coach, mentor and friend and his legacy to coaching lives on in all those who have been inspired by him and through the hundreds of Bearpark Foundation Coaching Education Award recipients.