Peter Gavan had no history in the sport of volleyball, but in 1970 when he started teaching at St. Joseph elementary school, he saw a need for girls’ sports participation at the school.
He decided to start a volleyball team, and thus followed 36 years of involvement in the sport.
After four years of coaching at the elementary level, Gavan moved on to St. Joseph’s Girls’ College. In 1975, Gavan began coaching at the junior level, guiding his team to two league championships and a NOSSA championship. Proving that success was not an accident under his leadership, St. Joe’s teams went on to win 10 NOSSA gold medals from 1976 to 1990 as well as a Silver Medal at OFSAA in 1979 and a national ranking of 7th.
The 1977 OFSSA championships proved to be a watershed moment in that Gavan realized that there was a lack of smaller Catholic high schools represented at the provincial championship. Along with Peter O’Hare, together they initiated the first All Ontario Catholic Girls Volleyball Tournament, dramatically increasing the level of competition and participation by Catholic schools. They won one silver and six gold medals in the first seven years of the event. The event continued to grow and still exists today.
His involvement in the sport led to additional exposure to the sport in our area, and further athlete development through sending local volleyball players to volleyball summer camps. Gavan coached the Northeastern Ontario team at two sets of Ontario Games, and through his contacts was able to bring volleyball exhibitions to our area featuring the Canadian National Men’s team playing against the Polish National team and the American Olympic team.
Upon retiring from teaching, Gavan continued his involvement by officiating for 5 years.
A trail blazer, a successful coach and an innovator, Peter Gavan will be inducted into the North Bay Sports Hall of Fame on May 14th at the Davedi Club. Tickets are still available by contacting one of the following Executive Members: Dave Saad 705-472-7041, Larry Tougas 705-303-8104 or any Hall of Fame Board Member. Tickets are also available at the Davedi Club by calling 705-474-4190.
Those interested in searching past inductees are invited to explore the North Bay Sports Hall of Fame website at http://www.northbaysportshalloffame.ca