Dal alums join the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame
Katherine Wooler - November 2, 2012
Dalhousie makes it to the top of the class yet again as three Dal alumni are enshrined into the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame this weekend.
Read on to find out more about the Tigers who are joining the ranks of our province’s finest athletes, teams and developers.
Steve Giles: the go-getter
World champion canoe sprinter Steve Giles has three Dal degrees to hang beside his medals. A three-time Olympian, Giles is also a three-time alumnus, completing a Bachelor of Science in 1997, a Bachelor of Engineering in 2002 and a doctorate in 2005.
Between studying, Giles competed at the Barcelona, Atlanta and Sydney Summer Olympics, bringing home bronze in the one-man 1000-metre event from Sydney in 2000.
Growing up in Lake Echo, Nova Scotia, Giles began paddling at the Orenda Canoe Club. In 1989 he had his biggest local race, winning bronze when the world juniors were in Dartmouth.
Giles put in an impressive 16 years with the Canadian canoe-kayak team and competed in seven world championships, collecting one gold and three bronze medals. He rounded out his achievements by capturing gold and silver at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg.
In interviews with Chronicle Herald columnist Chris Cochrane, friends and teammates describe Giles as “a modest, generous guy who didn’t wear his elite athlete status.”
The accomplished athlete credits his parents and his long-term coach Tony Hall with aiding in his success.
Since the Athens Olympics Giles has retired from competition and is now a full-time electrical engineer.
Jack Graham: the sport advocate
Jack Graham has taken his knowledge of law and education to local, national and international courts—tennis courts, to be exact.
The Sydney, Cape Breton native started playing tennis when he was 12 and later landed his first summer job at the Windsor Tennis Club.
While earning his Bachelor of Education (1985) and Bachelor of Laws (1988) degrees at Dalhousie, Graham began volunteering with Tennis Canada by rewriting coaching manuals.
Besides becoming a certified coach himself, Graham served as development coordinator for the Nova Scotia Tennis Association. Through this position, he more than tripled the amount of affiliated clubs and recreation departments, increased coaching education and started year-round training programs.
From 1995 to 2001 Graham held the position of president of the provincial Tennis Association. He then joined the Board of Tennis Canada, acting as Chair from 2003 to 2006.
Graham didn’t stop at the national level, but, in 2009, he became the first Canadian to ever sit on the International Tennis Federation Board. He still holds the position today and is also the director of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Currently vice-chair of Tennis Canada, Graham hasn’t forgotten the local tennis scene as well. His latest position is as committee chair for an initiative that promotes indoor tennis facilities in Halifax.
In an interview with journalist Joel Jacobson, Graham said, “We need to build a system, locally and nationally, where there’s a clear pathway for aspiring athletes, from their first playing opportunity, to realiz[ing] they can play at Wimbledon. If we have good facilities and coaching, there’s no reason that person can’t come from Halifax.”
Graham will be inducted into the builder category for his contribution to sport development.
Howard Jackson: the legacy
Joining Graham in the builder category this year is fellow Dal alum Howard Jackson, who supported volleyball with his talent and passion for more than forty years.
Growing up in Bridgetown, Jackson made his mark in the community through his track and field accomplishments, setting a long-standing provincial record for triple jump.
However, Jackson’s biggest impact would be in volleyball officiating, and he started refereeing in 1970.
At the same time that he was earning his Bachelor of Physical Education from Dalhousie, Jackson became certified for officiating at a national level. In 1976 he managed to serve as a track and field official at the Montreal Summer Olympics and also finish his degree.
Not wanting to settle for less than the highest level of training, in 1983 Jackson became one of only two Nova Scotians to be certified as an international referee. In the same year he started as assistant coach for the Dal women’s volleyball team.
While he only worked with the Dalhousie team for one season, Jackson left a lasting impression on the players and head coach Lois MacGregor.
Now an associate professor with the School of Health and Human Performance, MacGregor says, “Dalhousie University was well represented by Howard Jackson.”
“His best qualities as a coach were his patience, his kindness, and his wonderful sense of humour,” she adds.
Throughout his long career as a physical educator, Jackson also shared his coaching skills with the Dartmouth Combines, Mount Saint Vincent University and the 1979 Canada Games women’s volleyball teams. His calm and caring attitude earned him the coach-of-the-year distinction from the Nova Scotia College Athletic Conference three times.
He trained new generations of volleyball officials as a national clinician and evaluator, while never slowing down in his own officiating duties. He refereed at such events as the Pan American and Pacific Rim Games and was still on the courts at AUS competitions until 2011.
Jackson passed away on November 10, 2011, but his memory lives on with the many players, colleagues and students whom he influenced. To honour his dedication to volleyball, Truro, his long-time town of residence, organized the Howard Jackson Memorial Volleyball Tournament to raise scholarship funds.
The Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame Annual Induction Night will take place in the World Trade and Convention Centre this Saturday, November 3. Doors open at 6:30 pm and the award presentations start at 7:00. There will be a post-event reception from 9:00-10:30. Tickets are available online, via phone or at the door: $25 for adults, $10 for students.