By Josh Howald
If you make the most of your opportunities, your success will create new ones.
Julie Dunlop (Independent file photo)
The most exciting part of receiving the highest coaching honours this country has to offer is the prospect of learning to be better, says Kincardine’s Julie Dunlop.
Dunlop will receive the Petro Canada Coaching Excellence Award, the Canadian Association of Coaches will announce this week. The prestigious award encompasses all sports, and demands international success, as well as a nomination from the governing body of your sport.
“It’s out of this world,” said Dunlop Monday morning. The fact I was even nominated is mind boggling.”
It’s been quite a year for Dunlop, head coach of Skate Canada’s Special Olympics team. Our athletes brought home a record 25 medals from the World Winter Games in Korea. In addition, the International Coaching Committee scrapped their technical evaluation forms in favour of hers after they got a peek. Hers is the new international standard.
She’ll be honoured at a gala ceremony Nov. 8 at the Sport Canada Leadership Conference, this year held in Calgary. The annual event is a chance for the country’s top coaches and sport scientists to meet with senior leaders from national sport and multi-sport organizations to analyze, discuss and network.
The Petro Canada Coaching Excellence Award is won by coaches who guide individuals or teams to a medal in a recognized NCCP sport. They must be Level 3 certified and nominated by their sport’s governing body – in Dunlop’s case, Skate Canada.
Some of the more recognizable recent winners include Mike Babcock, Ken Hitchcock and Melody Davidson.
“It’s very exciting,” she said. “I don’t need awards to feel successful. This is just another chance to learn.
It’s something to draw inspiration from, and being in an environment like this will only make me better.”
The four-time national coach said she was looking forward to hearing talks from John Herdman, head coach of the Canadian Olympic women’s soccer team and Elizabeth Manley.
Being among the best in the country at what she does will not keep Dunlop out of the trenches. She spends nearly every day in a small town arena, teaching power skating in Port Elgin and Kincardine for the minor hockey associations, as well as figure skating in Walkerton, Wingham and Alliston, her hometown and where son Payton is playing Junior C hockey this season.
But gold medals and national awards will provide her with opportunities that weren’t always necessarily there. She has already spent a month in Iceland teaching skating this year. A whole new world of opportunity, literally, awaits Dunlop on the ice.
“It’s what I do. What I give doesn’t compare to what I get back,” said Dunlop. “I come home smiling from the lowest level I teach to the highest level. I really like my job, and I get more out of it than I put in.”