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Interview with a Grizzly coach: Why being a coach is a rewarding experience

Matt with a beard wearing a blue shirt looking at the cameraCoaches play an integral role in the success of our varsity teams. National Coaches Week takes place Sept. 22 to 30 this year and we asked Matt Coulson, coach of the men’s basketball team, about the upcoming season.

  • How long have you been coaching at Georgian? This will be my eighth season as head coach at Georgian. I spent four seasons as an assistant coach prior to that.
  • Why did you decide to get involved in coaching? I always knew I wanted to be around the game of basketball. As my competitive playing years started nearing the end, coaching seemed the logical next step.
  • How early do you start practising with the team? We don’t start practising as a team until after tryouts are finished in September. But we do occasionally work out with the returning athletes who are staying in Barrie for the summer. As well, we stay in touch with the out-of-town guys to see that they’re staying in decent shape for the upcoming season. So, training is a continuous thing year round although we aren’t actually competing from April through August.
  • When is the season opener – and who is it against? Our season opener this year will be Friday, Oct. 19 on the road versus the Seneca Sting – the defending Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) and Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) champs. A very tough test to start the year. Tip-off is at 8 p.m.
  • Who do you consider your main competition this year? Seneca is obviously going to be very strong again this year, as I expect George Brown, Centennial, Loyalist, all to be very good. There are no easy games in the OCAA anymore. It will be a very competitive year as teams like St. Lawrence and Algonquin are always tough as well.
  • What’s the most rewarding part of being a coach? The most rewarding part of coaching? Very tough to say. Watching young men become successful, happy people after they’ve left your program and having been a small part of helping them get there is very rewarding. Watching a group of individuals come together and become a team is also a big part of what motivates us to come back. Then there are day-to-day things. The comradery with the guys. And being someone my players can talk to always has me going home in a good mood.
  • What’s one thing you’ve learned from your team or from coaching? The one lesson that coaching – and playing for that matter – has reinforced and is also a lesson that life continues to teach as well, is that you can’t dictate the outcome of an event. The best you can do is prepare as much as possible and then deal with the events as they unfold as best you can.
  • Are there any coaching skills that are helpful in everyday life? Being able to deal with the ebbs and flows of a basketball practice, game, season and all it includes is very similar to my role as manager of a small business.
  • What techniques do you use to inspire and motivate the team? There are many techniques used depending on what we feel the team needs at that time. Sometimes it’s a pick-me-up pep talk when they’re down on themselves. Sometimes it’s wind sprints because they aren’t bringing energy in practice. It’s amazing how a couple of sprints can bring up the energy in a practice. Some years I will surprise the guys at practice with a game of flag football or dodgeball when they’re expecting a grueling practice, but we know they need a break. We try to vary the ways we use to motivate them.
  • What values do you set for yourself as a coach? We set the same values for ourselves as coaches as we set for the players. Be responsible, be respectful, and treat others as you wish to be treated. And from a competition aspect, work to improve every day, and compete to be the best. Compete to be the best player, coach, and team that you can be.
  • How do you know as a coach if you’re doing an effective job? You know you’re doing an effective job if your players and team are responding to you and working hard for you. When that isn’t happening, then you know you need to make some changes. You must take your pride out of the situation and evaluate what changes you should make to get them competing and playing together again.
A male basketball player on the court
  • What do you enjoy most about working as part of a team? The best part of team building is the journey. All the steps it takes to get from day one of selecting the team to the final moments of the last game. The practices, the bus rides and team meals all make being a part of a team enjoyable. Watching seniors help new players learn the system. Watching a shy first-year player become a fourth-year senior who never stops talking on the court. That’s what makes being part of these teams worth the time we invest.
  • How important is winning to you? As competitive as I am, and as much as I enjoy winning, I’ve learned to base my standard of success on the quality of teams we build, the quality of people we help mould, and the job we do as a team in getting the best out of ourselves that we can. Although the Georgian Athletic department deserves much of the credit for the measures they’ve implemented, the academic success of our teams has been very good, and we take pride in that. We hold a weekly study session for two hours, so we know they’re getting some extra quiet study time at least once a week. From the beginning of my coaching career, now spanning 17 to 18 years, some of the seasons I enjoyed the most were the over-achieving 12-10 teams than the underachieving 16-5 teams. As much as I want to hang some championship banners in our gym, I will not consider my coaching career a failure if I fall short.
  • What’s the most difficult part of being a coach? Without question, time away from my family is the most difficult part of coaching. My wife and I have two boys, a four-year-old and a one-year old. Coaching takes a lot of time and commitment, and it gets harder each year.
  • What would you like to achieve by the end of this season? Our goal for this season is to constantly improve, be playing our best basketball of the season in late February, and be as prepared as possible to win some games when we host the OCAA Championship in March.
  • Why should people come out and cheer on our Georgian Grizzlies? People will want to come see us play this year because we will play a fast-paced, entertaining basketball game. We like to get up and down the court and we also will play some very gritty defence.
  • What are some of your favourite memories coaching at Georgian? Many private ones. Watching individuals play the best game of their lives is always fun. I’ve had the pleasure of watching some very good players play fantastic games – makes my job quite easy on those nights.
  • Have you kept in touch with any former athletes? I keep in touch with many of my former players. Five of them were at my wedding this summer and a few have become some of my closest friends, (from my early days as an assistant). It’s great watching the success they’re having. It’s a point of pride for sure.
  • What do you like to do outside coaching? Outside coaching and work, I love being with my family. When we find the time, you can find me with them at our family cottage, on vacation or a road trip somewhere.
  • Who would be on your fantasy starting lineup? Fantasy starting five: Steph Curry, Kawhi Leonard, Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis.
  • Did you participate in sports when you were a student? I participated in every sport I could get my hands on since the age of three: hockey, soccer, basketball, volleyball, baseball, football, rugby, track, etc. I played varsity basketball at Lakehead University for three years and one year for Georgian (2003 to 2004). I was an assistant the following year.
  • How excited are you that Georgian is hosting the OCAA men’s basketball championships this year? We’re very excited to be hosting the championships. We have a great facility, great fans, a tough basketball squad and we look forward to showing that off.

The 2019 belairdirect OCAA Men’s Basketball Championship will take place from Feb. 28 to Mar. 2, 2019 at the Georgian Athletic Centre in Barrie. Mark your calendars! The top eight Ontario college teams will be there. Georgian will play on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. Read more...

Top things to do after class around South Georgian Bay

College isn’t all about being in the classroom. Studying at the South Georgian Bay Campus in Collingwood? Looking for something fun to do?

  • Head to Sunset Point Park or one of the many parks around South Georgian Bay.
  • Grab your hiking shoes, skis, snowshoes or bike and explore over 60 km of Collingwood trails.
  • Venture deep within the mountain or experience Ontario’s longest twin zip line with Scenic Caves Adventures.
  • Go on a brewery, winery or cider tour – there’s something for all your taste buds.
  • Beat the winter blues and hit the hills at Blue Mountain.
  • Have you ever gone apple picking? Now’s your chance! The fall is a perfect time to head out to a local orchard and “pick” up some apples.
  • Get your inner Indy driver on and ride the go carts at Wasaga 500!
  • Enjoy a bit of retail therapy in any of the great shops in Collingwood, Thornbury, Blue Mountain Village, Creemore and more.
  • If you’re looking for a quiet activity, do some bird watching at Eco-Park in Stayner.
  • Take a selfie at the world’s smallest jail in Creemore! While you’re there, enjoy a cold brew at the Creemore Springs Brewery.
  • Wind down after a week of classes and enjoy the relaxing effects of the baths at the Scandinave Spa in Collingwood. Georgian students receive discounts to the spa. Check out the details.
  • Everyone loves bowling! Book a few lanes and head over to Georgian Bowl.
  • Wasaga Beach is not only the longest freshwater beach in the world with 14 km of sandy shore, but the sunsets there are breathtaking!
  • Did you know there’s a South Georgian Bay Film Festival? Check it out!
  • There’s no shortage of amazing restaurants in South Georgian Bay for the foodie.
  • Enjoy a fun day or take in a workshop at The Paint Bar pottery and glass studio or Crock-A-Doodle in the Blue Mountains.
  • Pick up some tasty eats at one of the farmers’ markets like Currie’s Farm Market or the downtown Collingwood Farmers’ Market.

Ask your student advisor, Georgian College Students’ Association rep or drop by the front desk to find out about other activities in the area. We’re happy to help you find your way around the community. You can also check out other neat things to do all year round at South Georgian Bay Tourism. Read more...

Research project provides energy efficiencies for local mill and leading-edge skills for grad

Samuel Cooney, recent graduate of the Mechanical Engineering Technology program, is wrapping up a research project at Georgian that’s impacting how a sawmill in cottage country operates. Young male student stands on staircase in M building at the Barrie Campus, wearing greenish/grey golf shirt and dark pants

He began the project as a student through an eight-month co-op with the Centre for Applied Research and Innovation (CARI). Cooney teamed up with faculty lead Dan Brooks and Research Analyst student Alec Dare on an extensive review of Rayonier Advanced Material’s (RYAM) primary band saw operations in Huntsville. Read more...

Top things to do after class around Grey Bruce

College isn’t all about being in the classroom. Studying at the Owen Sound Campus? Looking for something fun to do?

The Owen Sound Georgian College Students’ Association (GCSA) hosts many events throughout the year. You can view upcoming events on their Facebook page, or drop by the GCSA office in room D102. You can also check out other neat things to do all year round at Owen Sound Tourism. Read more...

13 ways to better manage your time

It’s no easy feat juggling school, work and life. Master time management with these helpful tips from Georgian’s peer tutors:Two male Georgian students working on assignments at a table

  1. Start with a time audit. Look at where you spend your time and why.
  2. Make a plan. The library has templates for reading, weekly and semester plans. These can help you stay on track.
  3. Use a planner or download an app to keep organized. Schedule in study time — and breaks.
  4. Know your deadlines and work toward them. At the beginning of each semester, map out what’s due and when.
  5. Complete the most important assignments first. Get the big things out of the way so they don’t weigh you down.
  6. Do one thing at a time. Multitasking makes it hard to focus.
  7. Find a quiet study space. Whether on campus or at home, have a space dedicated to reading or reviewing material.
  8. Eliminate distractions. There’s a time to scroll social media and a time to put your phone down and concentrate.
  9. Break your assignments and projects into small chunks. Chip away at them rather than trying to get them done all at once. You’ll feel less pressure and this will avoid last-minute stress.
  10. Say goodbye to cramming. Break study sessions into 30 to 45 minute chunks over the span of a week or two instead.
  11. Learn to say no. Set clear boundaries and be clear on what your priorities are.
  12. Be strategic. If you have two assignments — one worth five per cent and the other worth 20 per cent — spend your time first on the one worth the most.
  13. Avoid lineups. You can get a lot done online at Georgian, e.g., get your parking pass, submit your student card photo, pay term fees, get a Registrar’s Office service ticket through the myVisit app.


Lakehead-Georgian offering entrance awards for 2019

Lakehead-GeorgianLakehead-Georgian students in lab coats at a Barrie Campus lab currently offers four innovative degree-diploma programs:

All accepted students (regardless of their grades) going into year one of these four-year programs next fall (2019) are eligible to receive an entrance award. Domestic students can receive a $4,000 Lakehead-Georgian Entrance Award, which can be combined with Lakehead’s entrance scholarships (amounts vary based on academic merit) to a maximum of free tuition. International students are also eligible for entrance awards and entrance scholarships. Read more...

Top things to do after class around Simcoe County

College isn’t all about being in the classroom. Studying at the Barrie Campus? Looking for something fun to do?

The Barrie Georgian College Students’ Association (GCSA) hosts many events throughout the year. You can view upcoming events on their Facebook page, or drop by the GCSA office in room A162. You can also check out other neat things to do all year round at Tourism Barrie. Read more...

Seven awesome study spaces at the Barrie Campus

Looking for a quiet nook at the Barrie Campus? There are plenty to choose from! Here are our seven favourite study spaces.

If you have a favourite study space that we missed, let us know on social media! Share the details with the tag #ExperienceGeorgian . Read more...

How to do well on your first assignment at Georgian

Before you get started on that paper or project that’s due, here are a few tips from the Writing Centre

  • Be clear on what’s expected. Read or listen to instructions carefully.
  • Understand the rubric. Pay attention to what aspects of the assignment are worth what percentage.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Get clarification in class from your prof or pop by during their office hours.
  • Reflect on what you’ve learned in class. Make sure you have a good understanding of course material.
  • If you can, choose a topic you’re passionate about or interested in. Learning should be fun!
  • Get help if you need it. Georgian offers research, math and writing support.
  • Block out chunks of time in your calendar to work on the assignment. Don’t try to do it all at once and make sure you complete it a few days before due to allow time for editing.
  • Break the assignment into manageable steps. What do you need to do first? Create an assignment task list.
  • Remove all distractions. Find a space where you’re comfortable and able to concentrate.
  • Cite your sources. Make sure you’re familiar with APA style.

Did you know the library has an assignment checklist? Check it out. Read more...

Not interested in varsity sports? There’s lots of ways to stay fit and have fun!

Make the most of your student experience. Your Georgian ONECard provides you access to athletic facilities at the Barrie, Orillia and Owen Sound campuses. Here’s a few other ways you can keep active while at the college:

  • Enjoy a workout at one of the fitness centres or even up your training by making an appointment with a personal trainer!
    • The Orangeville Campus also has a partnership with Anytime Fitness, the Muskoka Campus partners with Snap Fitness and in Midland, students get a discount from the local YMCA.
  • Take a fitness class in Barrie, Orillia or Owen Sound – Zumba, yoga, spin, and more. Class times and offerings vary by campus.
  • Enjoy a game of foosball or shuffleboard at the Midland Campus.
  • Take advantage of open gym time weekday afternoons if you want to take a break and shoot some hoops, kick a soccer ball or play badminton. Just show up, sign out equipment and play!
  • For those looking to play in a campus rec league or tournament, Georgian-Barrie has plenty to offer!  Students can join fall leagues in coed volleyball, soccer, 3-pitch softball or flag football. Sign up today – league play starts Sept. 17. Visit the Athletic Centre (J building) to sign up.
  • Try out your skills on the new ping pong table at the South Georgian Bay Campus. We hear it’s quite the workout!
  • Georgian-Barrie also hosts tournaments in table tennis, indoor cricket, indoor soccer, dodgeball and badminton. Visit the Athletic Centre (J building) to get registration information or follow Athletics on Instagram.
  • Get out on the dance floor and bust some moves! Hit your local club or come to a pub night at The Den in Orillia or The Last Class in Barrie or Owen Sound.
  • Participate in a number of intramural or extramural activities like hockey, dodgeball and ultimate frisbee at the Barrie, Orillia or Owen Sound
  • There’s foosball, ping pong and pool available in the Owen Sound cafeteria so you can play anytime!
  • You can challenge your buddy to a game of table tennis in Orillia, just outside The Den. In Barrie, play a little pool in The First Class Café.
  • The Orillia Campus has a great line-up of recreational activities – including some in partnership with the City of Orillia. Check out the Fall Campus Recreation Info Guide for more details.
  • You can also keep active with one of Georgian’s student clubs. Join the dance club or Georgian’s award-winning Kodiaks bowling team!
  • All of Georgian’s campuses are located in an incredible four-season paradise. There’s tons of places to hike, ski, swim, snowboard, kayak and more. Check out some of the great trails in the area.

Find out more about fitness and athletics at Georgian. Read more...