The Canadian Paralympic Committee announced today the selection of its 2011 hall of fame class. Among them is Dr. Earl Church who is currently coaching with Athleics New Brunswick.
Dr Earl Church becomes the first ever coach to be introduced. A native of Welland, Ontario. Dr. Church, who currently coaches athletics at the Université de Moncton and Athlétisme Sud-Est-South East Athletics was already a well-known and respected athletics coach before entering Paralympic sport in 1989. His involvement grew over the next 19 years to include coaching in four Paralympic Games (1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004) in addition to many World Championships and other international events. He was part of the coaching staff of the first fully integrated athletics team at the 1994 World Athletic Championships. Many of his athletes, including three time Paralympic gold medallist, Joanne Berdan, have earned world and Paralympic medals and credit Dr. Church for providing them with the boost they needed to make it to the next level. He has also served as a mentor to many Para-Athletics coaches.
"I know that there are many outstanding coaches who deserve this opportunity so I am both humbled and honoured to receive this award," said Dr. Church. "To be inducted into the Paralympic Hall of Fame is really special."
Joining Church in the CPC Hall of fame are athletes Ljiljana (Lilo) Ljubisic (Goalball and Para-Athletics), Clayton Gerien (athletics) , Michael Edgson (Swimming) and Senator Joyce Fairbairn in the builder category.
‘’Earl has been a incredible asset to the sport of athletics in New Brunswick since he moved here 3 years ago’’ says ANB Technical Director Gabriel LeBlanc ‘’His leadership and know-how has helped us become contender in Para Athletics in Canada and he is truly deserving of this great honour’’.
Head Coach Peter Stuart also echoes how fortunate ASEA athletes have been to have someone of Earl`s experience. "While we already have very high caliber coaching staff at ASEA, Earl's presence brings an international experience and reputation that very few organizations in Canada have. He makes a difference to each athlete he coaches".