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Former Salmon Arm coach inducted into BC Basketball Hall of Fame

Terry Michell joins several other local coaches, athletes honoured
Former Salmon Arm Secondary basketball coach Terry Michell in a 2017 photo with former Jewel and current SAS teacher Tekki Brown-Hryniw. (Observer file photo)

Another member of Salmon Arm’s renowned basketball community has been inducted into the BC Basketball Hall of Fame.

At an awards ceremony on Sunday, May 13, longtime basketball coach Terry Michell joined the ranks of other notable Salmon Arm coaches.

The Hall of Fame lists Michell’s many accomplishments.

“Terry Michell coached the Salmon Arm Jewels Senior High School Girls program for 35 seasons between 1979 and 2019,” states the write-up featured in the awards ceremony program.

“He coached in over 1200 games, with over 900 wins, 15 Okanagan Championships, 15 Provincial Championships appearances, 12 Final Four appearances at Provincial Championships, and 2 AAA Girls Provincial Championship teams in 1979 and 1998. Terry coached over 50 athletes who went on to play basketball at the post-secondary level.”

Other Salmon Arm coaches inducted into the BC Basketball Hall of Fame include Al Bianco, inducted in 2006, who also coached the Jewels, leading the team to BC Provincial Championships 13 years in a row from 1958-1970. The Jewels won seven provincial championships during that span. The team also won a BC Senior ‘B’ Championship for Women in 1962.

Joe Kupkee was inducted in 2010. The Hall of Fame notes he coached both boys and girls in the B.C. school system for 18 years.

He had back-to-back undefeated seasons with the Salmon Arm Jewels in 1977 and 1978, and influenced many people, including basketball players and coaches Allison McNeill and Bev Smith.

Allison McNeill, a former Jewel, was inducted in 2013 as a coach. She was Simon Fraser University’s Women’s Basketball coach for 13 years with a record 363-79. She was head coach of the Canadian National Women’s Team from 2001-2012, coming up with a phenomenal top 8 finish in the 2012 Olympic Games. McNeill’s players were named NAIA All-Americans 15 times, with two named the NAIA Player of the Year. She was assistant head coach for the University of Oregon from 2001-2005, as well as Basketball BC head coach at the Centre for Performance. She’s coached at all levels, mentoring more 1,000 coaches.

As recently as this past April, McNeill returned to Salmon Arm to provide a weekend clinic to school-age players so she could give back to the community.

Former Salmon Arm players recognized by the BC Basketball Hall of Fame include Bev Smith in 2004 and Joanne Sargent in 2005.

Smith’s achievements are listed as follows:

• Played on the Canadian National Women’s Teams starting with the junior national squad in 1977 until her retirement in 1996, including the 1984 and 1996 Olympics.

• Won a bronze medal at the 1986 World Championship. Named to the FIBA All-World Team after helping the Canadian Team claim the bronze medal at the 1979 World Championship in Seoul, Korea.

• Played and coached internationally in Italy for 15 years

• Played at the University of Oregon where she was a two-time All American and GTE Academic All-American.

Sargent’s accomplishments listed by the Hall of Fame include:

• Won four Canada West titles and three national championships with UBC from 1968/69 until 1972/73.

• Holds an unofficial record for career assists.

• Member of Canada’s National Team from 1970 until 1976.

• Set the Olympic assist record at the 1976 Olympics.

• At the Canadian university championships in Montreal in March 1973, Sargent received a standing ovation from the Montreal crowd.

• Sargent’s remarkable playing career continued well into the 1990s playing Senior ‘B’ basketball.

In a 2017 interview, former Jewel Tekki Brown-Hryniw described her former coach Terry Michell this way: “He was always super classy and a heck of a lot of fun, and he always believed in us.”

Read more: Amazing basketball talents of Salmon Arm’s Bev Smith worth a revisit in video

Read more: Olympic basketball coach returns to Salmon Arm to give back to young athletes

Read more: Former Jewel returns to SAS

Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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