Honouring Bob Bearpark's legacy through Coaches viaSport
Eighteen years ago, British Columbia lost an influential coach, mentor and friend in Bob Bearpark. Today, the legacy of Bob’s accomplishments are carried on through the Bearpark Foundation, recognizing and honouring his many contributions to sport in British Columbia and across Canada.
Coaches viaSport is honoured to continue Bob’s legacy to B.C. Coaches through the Bearpark Coaching Bursary Awards, funded by the Bearpark Foundation, and would like to recognize Bob and the Foundation for the many coaches they continue to support on his behalf. To view the most recent list of bursary recipients, see the Bob Bearpark Coaching Bursary Awards page on the viaSport website.
Bob Bearpark (March 15, 1943 – November 18, 1996)
Bob Bearpark was an influential teacher and coach, who started his soccer career in the United Kingdom before earning a place as a staff coach of the English Football Association. In 1975, at the age of 32, he moved to Canada and studied at the University of Western Ontario where he completed a Masters in Physical Education. Bob became an assistant professor at McMaster University School of Physical Education and also the school’s varsity soccer coach.
Bob went on to serve three years as Technical Director for the Ontario Soccer Association and following that, joined the Canadian Soccer Association’s National Coaching Staff. As assistant coach to Tony Waiters, he helped lead the National team to many firsts. Together they led Canada to qualify for the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 and the Canadian National Men’s qualifying for the World Cup of Soccer in 1986. They also led a 4th place finish at the 1984 Great Wall of China Tournament. Following these successes, from 1986 to 1987 Bob served ten matches as head coach.
In 1989 Bob moved to British Columbia where he spent six years as Provincial Director of Sports Services for the Province of B.C. During this time Bob shared his vision for a regional sport delivery system that would provide community coaching support in B.C. After an extensive community-based consultation process, his vision was brought to life in 1993 with the establishment of the foundation for PacificSport1 and Commonwealth Centre for Sport Development. The following year Bob played a major role in the successful hosting of the XVthCommonwealth Games in Victoria, B.C. This year will mark the 20th Anniversary of the Victoria Games.
In 1996 Bob passed away following a brief illness with cancer and in 1997 the Bearpark Foundation was established as an ongoing memorial legacy to Bob, honouring his longstanding commitment and support of coaching education in British Columbia. Ten years later in 2006 Bob was remembered for his dedication to the soccer community with his induction into Canada’s Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum.2
Bob was devoted to the ongoing professional development of coaches in this country. He is fondly remembered for his commitment to sport from the grassroots to elite levels and as a sport visionary, where his passions included being a soccer athlete, coach, mentor and friend.