Keith Reilly – Mentor & Friend

The curling world was saddened today upon learning of the passing of Keith Reilly. Keith was one of the course conductors with the Ontario Curling Federation when a young curler from Kitchener-Waterloo decided to move from competitive curler to instructor/coach/official.

Under the “old” NCCP prgramme, my level I, II & III technical courses had one thing in common, Keith was one of the instructors. Without realizing it nor without Keith actually saying it, the best lesson I learned from him was the credo by which I now coach and instruct, “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!”

Keith was an excellent curler with the Alfie Phillips Jr. national championship quartet (1967). I never got to see Keith play but I’m told he was a consummate teammate. Knowing Keith’s personality, it was not difficult to believe that about him.

Keith was also a world class curling official. Those of you who have played in national events will have seen Keith in that role.

Keith was also an accomplished coach most notably with the Alison Goring team out of the Bayview G&CC, Canadian Women’s Champion (1990). In his coaching role, he created a coaching manual called, “How Are We Doin’ Coach?” That manual was under my arm at many practices when I began my coaching career. When I decided to compile my own coaching manual, I wanted it to look and feel like Keith’s. He was one of the first persons I contacted when my manuscript was ready. I wanted Keith’s permission to publish it in the style of “How Are We Doin’ Coach?”.

As I look back on Keith’s career both in curling and in life, I realize how much mine paralleled his. We both were professional educators ending our careers teaching the same subject, “design & technology” before we started coaching and instructing.

Keith retired to central Ontario in the Barrie area, one of the best parts of our home province. He had many friends especially Linda and Don Holman who will be a great comfort to the Reilly family at this time.

As I travel along my coaching career path, there have been many times that I’ve paused to wonder, “Heh Keith, How Am I Doin’ Coach?”. Hopefully he would approve! Keith, you will be missed but your legacy lives in the lives of all you touched!