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Sporting excellence runs in the family for Capilano University's new athletic director

Georgette Reed, the daughter of CFL legend George Reed, takes over from retiring CapU AD Milt Williams.

Georgette Reed is bringing a lifetime of sporting experience with her as she takes over as athletics and recreation director at Capilano University.

Reed assumed the role last month, taking over for Milt Williams who retired after 30 years at the university, including 10 as the athletic director. Reed is bringing with her an extensive background in athletics, including representing Canada at the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona as well as winning 15 national championship titles in shot put and two in discus.

But her athletic education goes back further than that, right to her childhood in Regina. Her 82-year-old father, George Reed, is known as one of the greatest running backs in CFL history, playing 13 seasons, all with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He was No. 2 on a 2006 TSN list of the 50 best CFL players in history.

Georgette said she was too young to spend a ton of time at the football field with her dad, but she recalls having Roughriders over at her house all the time, fraternizing with her family and her father. And the lessons she learned from her dad go much deeper than mere athletic achievement.

Lessons learned from CFL legend

“I was a little bit too young to understand the actual impact that he had and the things that he did – I just knew that my dad played football,” she said. “But looking back at his legacy and the things that he's done, I've learned so much and I'm so proud of him not only as a player, but as a man. Because he taught me a lot about being involved with community and making sure that you give back and making sure that you understand that what you do on the field doesn't allow you to be a jerk off the field. You still have to be a decent human being.”

It’s those lessons from her father, coupled with the experience she gained in her own career as an Olympic athlete and sports administrator, that Reed wants to bring with her as she works with Capilano University’s teams and athletes.

“Not everybody is going to be an Olympian, but people can still work really hard and develop and become the best athlete and person that they can,” she said. “I just try to share some of my experiences and then let the athletes know that sports is a part of your world, but it’s not your whole world. There are responsibilities and accountabilities that sport teaches you, and if you can take what you learn through your experiences in sport, you'll be able to apply them hopefully to every other area of your life and move forward to do the things that you really want to do.”

Reed is inheriting a strong athletic program that has been run by steady hands since its inception. She’s just the fourth athletic director in the 55-year history of the school, following original AD Neil Chester; Joe Iacobellis, who held the job for 22 years; and the recently retired Williams, who became athletic director in 2012.

“She’s a real catch for us,” said Williams, who was heavily involved in the search for his replacement. “She’s been around sport all her life, and she’s pretty savvy."

Williams added that he was very pleased to see a female candidate fill the role.

“It’s going to open doors for a lot of female athletes and getting women in sport and getting them the resources they need,” he said.

Reed ready to build Blues program

For her part, Reed said she’s excited to build on the programs already in place at Capilano.  

“Milt built such a great foundation and amassed such incredible staff and knowledgeable people … for me it’s just building upon that foundation and moving things forward,” she said about her goals for the program. “What I'd like to do is just continue on that path and create an environment that is supportive, create a culture where people can succeed and grow.”

Reed comes to Capilano from Edmonton where she spent 10 years as head coach of the cross country and track and field teams at the University of Alberta, and then another 10 years as the health and wellness co-ordinator with Edmonton Fire Rescue Services.

She said she’s thrilled to bring her skills to Capilano where excitement is growing about a recent announcement confirming that construction will soon start on the University’s first ever on-campus residences.

“We're going to be able to really create some wonderful recreation opportunities and then hopefully, down the road, be able to build up some facilities as well because that's one of the things that's kind of lacking in this area," she said. "With more students and more recreation opportunities, we can build better programs and then hopefully that will help us with being able to build and acquire more facilities, which is great for everybody – for the community, great for Cap, and great for the athletic department.”

Williams retires after 30 years at Capilano

As for Williams, a familiar face on the North Shore sports scene for decades, he’s now spending time fixing up his cabin on Savary Island, but will be a frequent visitor to courts and fields around the North Shore for years to come, he said. He boasts a lot of achievements on his record – including the implementation of a four-year human kinetics degree at Capilano, bringing the Okanagan Charter to Capilano, as well as the strong showings of the Blues teams in provincial and national play – but one of his favourite moments came at a Junior All-Native Basketball Tournament the university hosted in 2018. The event featured 82 First Nations teams from across the province, and included a stirring opening ceremony inside an jam-packed Capilano Sportsplex.

“It was spine-tingling,” he said. “I’ve never seen this before, but they’d be battling it out and then after the game they’d all get together and hug and do a chant together. It was a communal thing, and it was fantastic to see the camaraderie and sportsmanship.”

The Capilano athletics department is hoping there will be many more spine-tingling moments to come with Reed at the helm.
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