Winnipeg Minor Basketball Association is pleased to announce that Fred
Mighty has been named the 2007-08 recipient of the WMBA Bruce Russell
Coach of the Year Award.  Fred has been coaching in the
WMBA since 2005 out of East St. Paul Community Centre. In all, he
has coached six different teams in the league. This past spring, Fred
was the coach of the 12 year old girls team out of East St. Paul
Community Centre.


Growing up in Thompson, Manitoba,
Fred started playing organized basketball in grade 7 and continued to
play through high school at R.D Parker Collegiate. For the past 15
years, Fred has continued to play while attending University and
Community College in both the Winnipeg and Brandon Senior Men’s Leagues
as well as pickup basketball with the Winnipeg Police and the NBA 3 on
3 tournaments.

Quotes from nominations:

“In club
basketball, each year sees some new girls joining the team. Invariably
these girls do not have the same skill set as the core girls. Instead
of splitting the team off into two groups, these "new" girls are
treated the same as the core girls and he uses the girls that have more
experience to help the newer girls. Everyone is treated the same
regardless of your skill level..."

“After each game or
practice, he will always approach each player to comment on how he
thinks they contributed to the team. I have watched these conversations
and it is interesting to see how special it makes each girl feel. After
one games, my family left before Fred got to have his "talk" with our
daughter. A few hours later our daughter got a phone call at home from
Fred who just wanted to let her know how he thought she had done during
the game. It is commitment like this that makes him a worthy Coach of
the Year."

Upon receiving notification that he had been
named the WMBA Coach of
the Year, Fred commented: “ When my two daughters decided to play in
the WMBA it provided me with an opportunity to pass on the love that I
have for the game by volunteering to be the coach of both of their
teams. The foundation and model of the WMBA represents things that I
truly believe in as it provides young children of all backgrounds and
athletic ability an opportunity to play the game in a safe, fair
environment where they can learn fundamentals at an early age and
develop a life long love of the sport by having a positive experience.
Coaching young children gives me an opportunity to give back and share
my knowledge and experiences of the sport by helping to build
confidence in young players, teaching them how to be respectful of
others and how to be part of a team, all of which I feel are all
essential skills that they can use later on in life."

The award recognizes a coach who demonstrates an outstanding commitment
to Fair Play, shows exemplary commitment to the team, serves as a model
for other coaches to emulate and demonstrates concern for players
outside the game. Prior to the selection committee seeing the
nominations, all names and club references are removed to eliminate any
biases in making the decision. In all, 7 WMBA coaches were nominated
for the award – all very deserving in their own right for the

The Bruce Russell Memorial Coaches Award has been established by the
Winnipeg Minor Basketball Association in partnership with Waverley
Heights Community Centre to recognize Bruce Russell's outstanding
commitment to his role as a basketball coach and his unbridled
enthusiasm for the philosophy of the league. Regrettably, Bruce passed
away as a result of cancer in April 2001.

Bruce had a tremendous passion for the game of basketball. He played
the game for over 20 years, first at the high school level for St.
Paul’s and Dakota, and then annually in the Greater Winnipeg Men's
basketball League. A very good player in his own right, Bruce's true
calling was coaching.

Bruce took up coaching duties in the 1999 WMBA season for the 8&9
Coed Waverley Heights Warriors, a team his daughter played on. Bruce's
patience, experience and attention to practice drills helped the team
learn the fundamentals of the game. His commitment to fair play made
sure all the kids participated and had a positive experience playing in
the WMBA. Although they lost more games than they won that season, it
was evident the kids had fun and the coach had tasted true success when
he said, “I love the feeling you get when you see the kids play.”

The award will be formally presented to Fred by members of the Russell
family at the WMBA’s Annual General Meeting on Tuesday June 24, 2008.
The meeting will be held at Sport Manitoba, 200 Main Street.

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