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2008 Inductees
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Colonels 73-74




 
INDUCTEE 2008 - BUILDER - George Stewart


 


Softball Coach for 25 years  in Community of Falun

George Stewart was born in Hanna, Alberta in 1928 and moved to Lakedell in 1935.  He has lived in the Pigeon Lake area ever since.  George and his wife Fay raised seven children, five boys and two girls.  George started coaching softball at Falun in 1970 and continued to do so for the next twenty five years.

Often the teams he coached
had no league to play in.

During that time he coached both boys and girls and his teams garnered seven Provincial titles and eleven runner-up awards.  Besides coaching softball, during the 1970’s he also coached hockey in Wetaskiwin and drove his five sons and a neighbour boy back and forth to town to play.

As a youngster George played ball at school but not on any organized teams.  He was however a “student of the game”.  When attending tournaments as a coach and his team wasn’t playing George would watch the other teams and analyze their strategies. George’s philosophy was that “the bench warmers were the best players” and his own children can attest to that as he showed no favouritism towards them.  Without formal coaching training he did the right things like training his players in the Falun Elementary school gym before the season started and working with his daughter Heather and her pitching in the basement during the winter months and in the yard as soon as the snow was gone.  He even used a radar gun to track the speed of the pitches.  Often the teams he coached had no league to play in.  Yet, even so these teams from a small community were provincial champions. 

George’s teams became experts at “sneaking home from third base” 

His teams practiced a lot and George also kept statistics on his players.  George knew the rule book and used the rules to his team’s advantage.  His players learned to bunt from both sides and often reached first base on a fake bunt.  George’s teams also became experts at “sneaking home from third base”.  To George it was better to challenge his players at a higher level of competition rather than winning at a lower level in the play-offs.  To improve the players batting he convinced the Falun Committee to buy a batting machine which helped all of the Falun teams.  His own team raised half of the money for the machine.  George often transported players who didn’t have rides and sometimes he even bought team uniforms, baseballs, bats, bases and plates for his teams.

From 1970 to 1978 George coached the boy’s softball teams.  He started at the Peewee level as an assistant coach working with Clayton Monahan.  His second son Bob was on that team and in 1972 they won the Provincial Championship.  In 1973 George became head coach and his new team placed second in the Provincials.  George stayed with that group of boys (including two of his sons, David and Tom) until 1978 when they were Midgets.  Those boys placed second in 1975 as Bantams and then won the Bantam “A” Provincial title in 1976 and the Midget “A” Provincial title in 1978. As provincial champions they represented Alberta in the Western Canadians and placed second both years. 

In 1979 George started coaching the girls.  His wife had coached the team that included their daughter Diane and up until that point the girls were “playing for fun”.  George finally convinced Diane that they weren’t going to win with her underhand pitching style and she was going to have to learn the windmill.  She did and as Bantams in 1980 they were second in the Provincials and in 1981 the girls won the Provincial “B” title.  George stayed with that group of girls until 1984 when they were Midgets.  In 1984 they lost out to Calihoo in the zone play-offs but two of his players, including his daughter Diane were picked up by Calihoo and made it all the way to the Canadian Championships where they won the Bronze medal.  George went along as scout for that team.

During his tenure with one team they represented their zone in the
Alberta Summer Games three times

The last group of girls that George coached included his youngest daughter Heather.  He started with them in 1984 when the girls were six and seven year olds.  In both 1989 and 1990 as Squirts they won the Provincial “B” Championships. In 1991 and 1992 as Peewee’s the team placed second both years in the “A” Provincials, a feat they repeated as Bantams in 1993.  During his tenure with this team they represented their zone in the Alberta Summer Games three times.  George continued coaching these girls until they finished competing at the Bantam level.

Besides coaching, George was also involved working on the Falun Sports Committee.  Many times over the years his team was the host team for the Provincials.  When that happened George not only coached the boys or girls but he and his wife also looked after the hosting details. During the time that George was involved in the Falun program, to Softball Alberta, Falun was the “Capital of Softball” and this was in no small measure due to his contribution.   For his efforts George was awarded the County of Wetaskiwin Volunteer Sports Award Plaque in 1987. He has also participated in curling for over 50 years.  Because of his many years of coaching and achievements with the Falun Softball Program we are honoured to induct George Stewart into the Wetaskiwin Sports Hall of Fame.

 
 



George Stewart with his two daughters:
Diane who helped to coach and
Heather at age eight.
 


Falun Pee Wee Girls
2nd in A Provincials
 

 
 





 
 

 

 

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