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Getting to know your U SPORTS coaches: Rod Gilpin, Bishop’s Gaiters

U SPORTS Staff

Throughout the 2017-18 season, U SPORTS sits down with one key athlete, coach, and staff member of each U SPORTS athletic program in our new interview series “Getting to know…”

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  • Name: Rod Gilpin
  • School: Bishop’s University
  • Sport: Men’s basketball
  • Position: Head coach
  • Seniority: 11 years
  • Previous school/position: Bishop’s women’s basketball head coach
  • Hometown: Sudbury, Ont.

1. How did you first get involved in coaching? What was your path to your position as head coach of the Gaiters?

I started as an assistant coach at Laurentian University working for Peter Campbell after playing at and graduating from Laurentian. From there, I was involved in Ontario Basketball Association regional team programs and the Ontario Team. I ended up at Bishop’s as an assistant with the men’s program working for Eddie Pomykala, before being hired as the women’s interim head coach, which turned into a 14-year gig. I then took over for Coach Pomykala when he retired.

2. Who are the people that have influenced you most as a coach?

Peter Campbell, Eddie Pomykala and Ken Shields.

3. How would you describe your coaching style?

Player-centric. I try not to be too restrictive, I want to see our players play more and think less.

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4. Which coach do you admire the most, and why?

There are too many to name. There are great coaches at every level in Canada and abroad.

5. What is the most “out-of-the-box” thing you’ve done as a coach?

I would say double-teaming an inbounds passer on a sideline out of bounds play at the end of a game.

6. What is your greatest coaching moment or achievement?

Anytime I receive a call, email or text from a former player who thanks me for having a positive influence on their success because of what they learned while at Bishop’s.

Another accomplishment that I am very proud of is how far the Shoot for the Cure initiative has come, from the local event we started at Bishop’s to raise money and awareness for breast cancer to a national event involving all 47 programs across the country.

7. What’s the best advice you can give to an athlete and/or athlete’s parents?

“No struggle, no progress,” to quote one of my former players. Failure and struggle are part of learning and success.

8. How have you changed as a coach over time? What principles/values, etc. have remained the same?

I have become more patient, a better communicator and more open-minded, but demanding someone’s best effort has not changed.

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9. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not in coaching mode?

When I am not coaching, I enjoy spending time with my family and watching my kids play soccer and basketball.

10. What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you as a coach?

Forgetting to make sure we packed our uniforms for an away league game.

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