Gary Ness – Hall of Fame

Inducted in 2018

Hometown:  Barrie

Category: Builder


Gary Ness has had a far reaching impact not only racquetball, but in Canadian sport.

Ness learned to play racquetball in the 1970’s while completing his PhD in Exercise Physiology at the University of Alberta. He went on to have a long and esteemed career at Acadia University and serving in a number of key leadership roles in sport in the Atlantic region, in Canada and internationally. Along the way, racquetball was a beneficiary of Ness’s work in high performance sport, with his contribution to our sport being significant.

Ness’s entire career has focused on the development of high performance athletes and coach education. He has been involved in coach development continuously since the 1970’s as an author, educator, clinician, and as a Master Course Conductor he has presented at numerous seminars throughout Canada. He was a major contributor to the National Coaching Certification Program and was a member of the team that produced the Advanced Coaching Diploma program. He still teaches the Advanced Coaching Diploma program at the Canadian Sports Centre – Atlantic and is a certified Level 4 coach.

Ness directly impacted racquetball through his work with the National Coaching Certification Program. He wrote the Racquetball Levels 1, 2 and 3 Technical Manuals and the Course Conductor Manuals for those levels. He also wrote Racquetball Canada’s Guidelines for the Level 4 and 5 Program.

Ness served as the Chairman of the Racquetball Canada Coaching Committee from 1979 to 1988 and the Sport Science Committee from 1979 to 1995 providing the sport with knowledge and experience that was critical to the success athlete and coach development programs.

Ness was the National Team Head Coach from 1989 to 1997. He coached Canada’s highly successful teams to record podium results at three World Championships including 1 gold and 6 silver in 1990, 6 silver and 1 bronze in 1992 and 1 gold and 6 silver in 1994. He also served as the coach at the 1995 Pan Am Games where Canada won 2 silver and 2 bronze medals. During his seven-year tenure as Head Coach, Ness also coached Canadian teams at many significant international competitions where Canada reached the finals in all tournaments.

Ness was the personal coach for Denise Haynes, who had a highly successful junior career as a five-time Canadian age-group champion. She also won bronze in singles at the 2007 and 2008 Junior World Championships.

Ness has received numerous awards and honours in his profession, including being named as a Professor Emeritus in 2011 by the Senate of Acadia University. Specific to the sport of racquetball, Ness:

  • is a three-time winner of the Coaches Association of Canada Coaching Excellence Award in 1990, 1992, and 1994.
  • received the Sport Nova Scotia Award for outstanding contribution to racquetball in 1987
  • was the recipient of the Racquetball Canada Ivan Velan Award in 1985.

Ness remains a highly active member of his community and has served in many professional and public leadership roles over the years. He was active as a racquetball player until his late 50’s, when he took up bicycle touring. Notably he has crossed Canada from Vancouver to Wolfville, rode the Sunset Trail from Vancouver to Los Angeles and most recently circumnavigated his home Province, Nova Scotia at the age of 71 years.

Gary Ness’s acceptance remarks from the 2018 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be posted here.

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