The late Larry McDougall is heading to Basketball Manitoba’s Hall of Fame in the fall.
Larry coached the Dauphin Clippers for 32 years between the boys and girls programs and he will be inducted into the Builders’ category.
McDougall guided the boys’ team to three provincial titles in 1975, 1976, and 1980. He also led the girls’ team to a provincial crown in 1987. Three years prior in 1984, Larry led the girls’ team to a silver medal at the provincials.
Larry’s wife, June McDougall still lives in Dauphin. She will be on hand on September 28 at the induction ceremony in Winnipeg.
“We’re very excited. My daughter, son and I will be at the induction ceremony,” said McDougall. “We’re hoping that lots of the boys will come back. They’re spread all over Canada and into the United States but we’re hoping some will come for the ceremony.”
Greg Southam was on the 1976 championship team and he was the lone grade 11 player. He didn’t get the opportunity to play as much as he would have hoped, but it was still a year that he will never forget.
Greg now resides in Edmonton and he nominated Larry.
“Larry is probably not what you think of as your typical coach. He was the calmest most decent coach you could have ever hoped to play for,” said Southam. “
“The only way that you could tell Mr. McDougall was excited was if he stood up off the bench,” added Southam. “He didn’t really say much but if he stood up off the bench, we all got the feeling that he was excited.”
Even when Larry was at home with his wife June, the talk at the table often revolved around his next practice plan or how they could win their next game. That was okay with June because Larry was doing what he loved to do.
Larry was also the coach that extended his role much past the court. You could go to him at any time if you needed help or guidance.
“He wasn’t just a coach, he was a good friend to the boys off the court,” said McDougall. “One of the player’s dads was dying and one player's dad passed away; he would give them great advice. Everyone referred to Larry as “The Coach”. He made an impression on each and every player.”
When Southam was a part of the team in the 1976 team, they were dominant. On top of winning the provincials, they had a nearly perfect season. The only real time they lost is when they hit the road for the big city.
“We really didn’t lose when we were playing in our league and level, we were dominant,” said Southam. “The only time we lost is when we played city teams.”
Dwane Fidierchuk was a member of the Clippers 1980 championship team. Just like the 1975 and 1976 seasons, Dwane and the Clippers led by McDougall were dominant once again.
“Larry always thought we were good and he told us,” said Fidierchuk. “As players, we always knew we were good. Not that we always expected to win, but we sort of thought that we would.”
When Dwane looks back nearly 40 years, one thing he remembers is something that the team always worked on at practice.
“He was getting us to practice shooting from half court,” said Fidierchuk. “I watched basketball but I never really noticed that at the end of a game, sometimes someone is taking a shot from half court to win the game or extend it. That’s something that I really do remember.”
That 1980 championship team did have some pressure on them. They played host to the provincials, but if they were nervous, they didn’t look it. They ended off knocking off Selkirk to win the title in their own gym
“The whole town was buzzing for us, it was electric,” added Fidierchuk. “It went down to some foul shots at the end of the game.”
Besides basketball, Larry was very active in the sports community. He once curled an 8-ender. He also loved to hunt, fish, and golf.
After a life where he touched so many people and had so much success, Larry passed away two years ago.
“We’re very sad that he’s not here for this but he would be so humble,” said McDougall. “He would be very appreciative of this.”
Not only will Larry be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but so will the teams. All three of the championship boys teams that Larry coached are being inducted into the Hall of Fame in the “Team” category.
That means Larry, Dwane, Greg and every member of the three championship teams will forever be in the basketball history books in Manitoba.