January 18th, 2021

Sports builder O’Brien heads into Hall of Fame

By Lethbridge Herald on April 21, 2015.

The Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame’s annual induction banquet features the induction of local sports administrator, principal, coach and athlete Cal O’Brien in the builders category.
The banquet takes place on May 2 at the Canadian Western Bank Lounge at the Enmax Centre. Tickets are available at TicketCentre locations at the Yates Memorial Centre and the Enmax Centre.
Cal O’Brien started out as a multi-sport athlete and went on to devote several decades to serving as a coach and administrator in a variety of sports.
As an athlete, he excelled in baseball, football, basketball and hockey, and continues to excel in golf.
Turning his attention to coaching in his adult years, he coached football, badminton, track and field, volleyball and basketball at the high school level. In 1976, he guided the Catholic Central High School Cougars to a league football championship, winning the T. Eaton Trophy — the same trophy he helped the Cougars win in 1963 when, as a quarterback, he threw the game-winning pass in the title game.
He also began coaching the senior girls’ basketball team at CCH in 1976, and over the next 26 years he led the squad to 15 South Zone championships, two provincial titles (in 1982 and 1986), as well as three provincial silver medals and two bronze medals.
O’Brien coached senior girls’ volleyball at CCH, too, winning three South Zone championships and a bronze medal at the 1982 provincials.
Catholic Central wasn’t the only beneficiary of O’Brien’s coaching  talents. He coached basketball at the University of Lethbridge for 14 years from 1982 to 1995, including 12 years as assistant coach and one year as head coach for the Pronghorn women’s team. During that time, the U of L women’s squad was nationally ranked in 11 seasons while winning a bronze medal at the national tournament in 1986 and two Canada West league championships.
He was also head coach of the Pronghorn men’s team for one season.
In 1986, O’Brien coached the Alberta senior women’s basketball team which won the silver medal at the Western Canada Games.
O’Brien made an impact at the administrative level as well. He was a founding member of the Southern Alberta 4A Girls Basketball League, the Chinook Girls Basketball league, the Southern Alberta Boys Volleyball League and the Southern Alberta Girls Volleyball League. He also served as president of the 4A leagues in basketball and volleyball (for both girls and boys) and the Southern Alberta Football League.
In addition, he was a strong supporter of new sports, helping to usher in baseball and rugby at the local high school level.
He will be inducted alongside the 1966-67 Lethbridge Junior College Kodiaks championship basketball team, Taekwondo athletes and coaches Colin Nonomura and Darin Gibson, columnist and sports organizer Dave Wells and basketball coach and organizer Pius Labolevech.
The 2015 theme celebrates “30 Years of LSHOF History” and this year’s scheduled guest speakers are: Mal Clewes, speaking about the early days of the LSHOF; Lethbridge Herald sports editor and board director Dylan Purcell, talking about the present state of sports in the area; and Rob Miyashiro, projecting what a permanent LSHOF display area at Lethbridge’s new westside Leisure Centre is likely to entail.
This year’s masters of ceremonies will be past inductees Carole Gemer and Dori Johnson.
Single tickets cost $50 and a table of eight is $350. For further information, contact http://www.lethbridgesportshalloffame.ca or phone Knud Petersen at 403-380-4751.

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