Photograph by Heather Snowdon
Kevin Dillon was a coach and math teacher at Paul Dwyer for 29 years.
Running, jogging, jumping and sprinting were all part of Kevin Dillon’s job. He was a track and field coach for 29 years in Oshawa, at Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School.
Not only was he a dedicated and hardworking math, gym and accounting teacher, above all, he was a committed coach. His coaching influenced students’ daily lives by allowing them to push themselves physically and accomplish more through track and field.
It was a job he did until his retirement in 2015.
“The value of track and field helps kids with discipline and routine,” says Dillon.
One of his students, Matt Hughes, was able to attend the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, competing in the men’s 3,000 metre steeplechase, in part because of Dillon’s dedication to coaching.
“As a young boy he had a big impact on my life,” says Hughes, who thinks of Dillon fondly and says they still keep in touch.
Dillon, who also graduated from Paul Dwyer, was driven as a young man.
“My best running was my last year of high school at Paul Dwyer. I made the World Cross Country team and I was eighth there in the junior race, it was probably the best race I ever ran,” says Dillon, recalling the 1978 event. His love for track and field enabled him to travel through Europe to exercise his love of competition and sports.
“I love the intensity of competition,” says Dillon.
He earned a scholarship for his hard work and attended Villanova University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the fall of 1978.
Dillon’s coach had a major impact on him while he was growing up. He was coached in Oshawa at Paul Dwyer by Joe Pender.
“I had a perfect training partner,” says Dillon regarding Gary Ranalli, a student who pushed him to do better.
Influenced by Pender and Ranalli, after he was done university, Dillon wanted to give back to his sport by coaching.
“Somebody had done it for me and I thought I could do well at it and it really helped me a lot,” says Dillon about the transition into coaching.
The importance of having a good teacher, who cares not only about education but about the future of the students is one of the reasons Dillon aspired to enter the career he did.
“I did well in running and I thought I could use that experience to teach,” says Dillon. He pushed students to accomplish more and believes became a better teacher as he did so.
Set on making change, he revelled in pushing high school students to do better and be all they can be.
“Satisfaction out of seeing kids do well,” says Dillon, referencing the enjoyment he took from coaching. He is adamant about building successful, hardworking adults. He has contributed time, patience, technique and personal experience to help coach track and field.
“I stuck it out for 29 years,” says Dillon regarding his dedication. “I love going to competitions with kids.”
His love for coaching allowed Paul Dwyer to have a devoted and diligent teacher, willing to put in tireless hours.
“He had a massive influence on this small community,” says Hughes.
In his retirement, Dillon spends his time travelling with his wife, Barbara. One of his trips was to Europe for a wedding, where he cycled and hiked through the countryside in both France and Spain.
Dillon plans on travelling more often throughout his retirement.