Seycove Secondary boys' basketball coach Teresa Ross and star player Christopher Ross, who is her son, update their family photo album at the North Vancouver school on Wednesday. Gerry Kahrmann / Postmedia News
Written By: Steve Ewen
Seycove Seyhawks guard Christopher Ross is a code guy.
For Ross, what’s said on the basketball court stays on the basketball court. And that’s a practice he keeps even with his mother, although you’d think from her spot at the front of the Seyhawks’ bench Teresa Ross could hear things.
She is the head coach of Seycove, a Double A squad from North Vancouver. Women at the helm of boys’ basketball teams in this province isn’t unheard of — Theresa Campbell drew considerable attention 15 years ago while guiding Vancouver’s Templeton Titans and leading them to the Triple A provincial tournament at the Agrodome — but it is rare.
It still turns heads, and still gets the odd questionable comment in the heat of battle apparently.
“Yeah, there’s been a few incidents on the court over the years, but I’ve never even told her about them,” Christopher, an Under-17 provincial team member this summer, explained. “It is what it is. And we’ll leave it that. “We’ve got a pretty good team this year. Say what you want to say out there. We’ll use it as motivation.”
This wasn’t a life goal for Teresa. But when oldest son Davey got to Seycove and they were having trouble finding a basketball coach for his Grade 8 team, she jumped into action.
A teacher by trade, Teresa had worked at McNair in Richmond. Paul Eberhardt, who’s now best known as the president of the B.C. High School Boys’ Basketball Association, was coaching and teaching at McNair at the same time.
Eberhardt gave her 22 possible coaches to call. She contacted them all. She came up empty.
She had done some coaching in her teaching days, and opted to take on the team herself. She moved up to the senior team ranks with Davey and now Christopher.
“It’s been a little weird, but it’s been awesome at the same time,” said Christopher, 17. “We were playing last year at Earl Marriott and I was making this read and I thought I was doing it right and she kept telling me I was doing it wrong.
“At one point, I turned to her and said, ‘Mom, I’ve got this,’ and she told me right away, ‘Don’t call me Mom … I’m Coach.’”
Teresa added: “I honestly feel I am just like every other dad or community volunteer out there. I’m just a little bit smaller, with a little bit longer hair.”
She said the Seycove players are respectful of the “unique situation,” and put in the work to get better. Christopher concurs.
“It’s not a traditional setup in any aspect,” said Christopher who, at 6-3, towers over 5-4 Teresa, “but the guys on the team know they wouldn’t have the opportunities they have without her.”
It will be interesting to see if this is Teresa’s final year. Christopher graduates in the spring and hopes to play post-secondary basketball somewhere next season. Davey, 20, is at UBC, where he’s also part of the rowing team.
Seycove just missed out on a spot at the provincials last season, losing a tight playoff with the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints, and Teresa admitted she’s keen on helping get this team to the B.C.’s.
That would be a fitting sendoff for any coach. You can argue it would be a little extra special for her, considering how she’s jumped into an unusual spot with such zest.
“She’d do anything for us,” Christopher said of he and his brother. “We didn’t have a coach and she stepped up.
“She knows her stuff and, what’s really cool, is that she gets better every year at it. She’s worked really hard to improve at it.”