Bob Hirst lived and breathed basketball, coaching 75 seasons of the sport while he taught at Collingwood Collegiate Institute (CCI).
Hirst is one of three “builders” being inducted into the Black and Gold Society at the upcoming CCI 160th anniversary reunion.
The Black and Gold Society started in 1998 as a way to recognize graduates who had exceptional high school athletic careers and went on to achieve great things in sports after high school. The society also honours those who have worked to pioneer and build CCI athletics in their careers as athletes, coaches, and teachers at CCI.
Hirst was head coach for the senior boys and girls basketball teams for 75 seasons at CCI. He led the CCI teams to nine Georgian Bay Secondary School Association basketball championships. He created the McDonald’s Senior Invitational basketball tournament and served as the tournament convenor for 28 years. He also served as convenor of the Ontario Federation of Secondary School Athletic Associations Boys Basketball tournament in 1999. Hirst was a founder and coach for 25 seasons with the Ontario Basketball Association Collingwood Trailblazers. He coached local regional Amateur Athletic Union, London Wheelchair basketball and the Ontario wheelchair basketball team, and he was the organizer of the Collingwood Raptor House League program.
Hirst was on the executive of the Collingwood Trailblazers and served as president for 25 years. As athletic director and head of physical education, he went beyond the job to become CCI athletes’ greatest cheerleader. Hirst received the Pete Beach award in 2013, which is given by the Ontario Federation of Secondary Schools Athletic Association (OFSAA) to a coach dedicated to growing sports and helping young people achieve their potential.
Hirst, two other builders, and 11 athletes will be inducted into the Black and Gold Society during a ceremony on Sept. 21 as part of the CCI 160th anniversary reunion.