Rick Van Camp, left, and Dave Killick enjoyed long-time coaching careers with the Maggie Mustangs basketball programs spanning 30-plus years each. Both have now retired from teaching. Emanuel Sequeira/Western News

Relationships rank high in coaches careers

Newly retired Maggie Mustang coaches cherish relationships built

While shaping minds in the classroom for a combined 68 years, Dave Killick and Rick Van Camp also molded students into athletes for the Maggie Mustangs for nearly 65.

Now, they headed off into the Okanagan sunset beginning retirement. Killick coached volleyball and basketball, while Van Camp coached basketball and tennis.

“In a lot of ways very rewarding,” said Killick. “You get to know them on a different level than when they are in the classrooms. That’s the part of the coaching that I really enjoy.”

Killick started out coaching both sports and considers himself lucky to have coached his daughters, Ashley, Kim and Stacey. After his daughters graduated, he switched to coaching basketball, starting in 2004.

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Killick most enjoyed the interactions with student-athletes as he felt closer to them then he did in the classroom. It allowed him to watch the students to develop and grow into better players and people. The highlights of his career start with coaching his daughters, but it comes back to the relationships.

“I have continued to see some of those kids that I have coached after they have graduated,” he said.

Killick carried the same approach as coach as he did wearing his teachers hat — laid back, while having fun. At the same time, he had certain expectations.

“We are here to work hard. Try to improve,” he said. “Strive to do the best we can.”

Killick will stay involved with school sports officiating volleyball and basketball when he has time.

Van Camp’s career started with the Norkam Saints senior girls basketball team in Kamloops for two years, then when in Penticton, he coached the Mustangs junior boys team for 24. He also coached his youngest son Coleton at Skaha Lake Middle School and his eldest son Wes at Pen High. This year he wrapped up his career coaching the Mustangs tennis team.

Like Killick, Van Camp enjoyed watching the players develop as people.

“One thing about athletics is that it teaches them discipline and sportsmanship,” he said. “It’s easy to win well, but how to lose well. Commitment, time management, all those skills. You don’t get those necessarily as much in the classroom.”

The highlight of his career involved two former players in Raj Dhillon and A.J. Basaraba. Both gravitated towards his kids, who were small and came to every practice and game.

“On road trips, without being told, they would take them under their wing and sit beside them on the bus up to a Salmon Arm tournament or where ever,” said Van Camp.

Once Coleton was old enough to play for the Mustangs senior basketball team, Dhillon was his head coach. Van Camp went to his sons games. He recalled a moment at a Vernon tournament.

“I was sitting on the bench watching my former point guard, coach my son. And doing a great job of it.”

Van Camp said he will miss the relationships he made. Getting to know another side of students.

“You see a different side of students when they are faced with adversity,” he said. “Faced with learning how to lose as well as how to win.”

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