The UNB Reds coach is hanging up the whistle after 33 years in basketball
Retiring after 17 years as coach of the UNB Reds women’s basketball team, Jeff Speedy won’t miss the recruiting trips, bus rides and coming home at 4 a.m
But he will miss everything else about being a coach.
“I could still do it if only I had to go to the gym every day and talk to the players and develop a basketball strategy,” he said Information morning Fredericton.
But after 33 years of coaching, he’s tired. He said he had two or three years left in him, but the perfect opportunity knocked. He will continue to serve as the university’s associate director of athletics.
“I had to say yes,” he said.
Speedy’s last regular season game as head coach is Saturday.
Assistant coach Colleen Daly had Speedy as a coach during the four years she played for the Reds and has worked with him since she returned for her education degree.
She said she was inspired by Speedy’s dedication, which she sees in his determination to do even better in his final year as a coach.
“He taught me that it doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman year or a senior, you can always get better and always learn something new,” Daly said Information morning Fredericton.
“I’m a better person because I know him.”
“The best coach I’ve ever had”
Player Grace Wade said she met Speedy when she was 12 and it was that basketball experience that inspired her to take it to the next level.
“He did a lot more than drawing plays, making substitutions and giving motivational talks. Speedy was a teacher and instilled values in all of his players that made me who I am today,” she said.
“Speedy loves to win, but beyond that, Speedy loves improving his community, building lasting relationships with his players and helping to build strong and capable women leaders. And that’s why he’s the best coach I’ve ever had. “
Speedy said what he will miss most is the people and the relationship he has with his players.
He said he won some championships with other teams but not with UNB. He said Wade and Daly’s words reaffirm that he still has something priceless to gain.
“Thank God I’m doing something right and influencing some young women because I certainly didn’t put up banners at the Currie Center,” he laughed.
“They could definitely argue, hopefully helping some people become better students, better players, better people, and their time in our program is probably more important than banners.”
He said he was a little scared he might not be able to coach another Grace Wade or form such a relationship, but will continue to keep in touch with the many players he’s met throughout his career .
“I’ve had a pretty rich life and that’s because of people like Colleen and Grace and a lot of others,” he said.