Highly successful Ipswich coach and Met West life member Calvin Hegvold invests considerable emotion into helping students. Picture: Rob Williams
Highly successful Ipswich coach and Met West life member Calvin Hegvold invests considerable emotion into helping students. Picture: Rob Williams

Life membership caps Met West coach’s incredible career

FOR someone who has achieved so many firsts in coaching, Calvin Hegvold feared his career was over before it started.

However, the Ipswich sporting achiever looks back on the past three decades with immense satisfaction, having received a Met West life membership as reward for his incredible record of success.

In school sport, Hegvold is the only Met West mentor to have coached state championship-winning combinations in two team sports. He's guided boys and girls sides in basketball and rugby league.

He has also coached Queensland sides in both sports.

Yet his coaching future looked dire in the early 1990s when the first under-11 Met West rugby league side he guided was 28-0 down at halftime in Rockhampton.

"Every one that coached before me were successful (for Met West),'' Hegvold said, recalling that career-shaping match against South Coast.

"I remember walking around Browne Park to give my half-time talk. Half of me was thinking about what I was going to say at halftime and the other half was thinking 'you'll never coach Met West again'.''

But rather than roast the youngsters, the former musician did something that underlined one of his greatest qualities carried into future.

"Bizarrely enough, I actually thought we were going okay,'' he said.

"So I just went with my gut . . . and I'd just say what I thought . . . that we were going okay and there's just a couple of things to fix up.

"I think all the boys were expecting a spray and didn't get it.''

Hegvold's players responded to his approach, keeping South Coast scoreless in the second half, only losing 28-26.

"I felt a lot better about it after that,'' he said.

Long-serving Ipswich coach and Silkstone PE teacher Calvin Hegvold has been recognised with a Met West Life Membership. Picture: Rob Williams
Long-serving Ipswich coach and Silkstone PE teacher Calvin Hegvold has been recognised with a Met West Life Membership. Picture: Rob Williams

The highly-regarded Silkstone State School PE teacher said having faith in your players was an essential 'weapon'.

"The biggest thing you can have as a coach, that is going to point towards success, is the trust of your players,'' he said.

"You can be the smartest coach on Earth, you can know everything, but if you don't trust your players it's not going to transfer over.

"You can't fake that. You have to earn it.''

Since that valuable lesson, the long-serving teacher has guided teams to 39 state championships, with seven wins and six second place finishes.

He's also coached at five national club and school championships, with a victory and runner-up performance to bolster this amazing tally.

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One of those was guiding the Ipswich under-14 girls team to undefeated glory at the state titles before only losing one match at the national titles on the Central Coast. That game was unfortunately a quarter-final but the best an Ipswich side had performed in higher level junior competition.

 

Calvin Hegvold coached an amazing Ipswich Force under-14 basketball team to undefeated state title glory. Picture: Rob Williams
Calvin Hegvold coached an amazing Ipswich Force under-14 basketball team to undefeated state title glory. Picture: Rob Williams

Asked to rate a favourite moment, the master coach was briefly stopped in his well-travelled tracks.

"That is really difficult because it's like choosing between your children,'' Hegvold said.

"I have loved every second of it.''

But having a strong bond with his family has helped Hegvold achieve so many outstanding performances.

He appreciated the opportunity to coach all three of his children - Millie, Hamish and Charlotte - in a state basketball championship final.

Hamish and Charlotte also played at national titles.

The successful sporting Hegvold family - Hamish, Millie, Charlotte, Nickey and Calvin.
The successful sporting Hegvold family - Hamish, Millie, Charlotte, Nickey and Calvin.

The Rockhampton-born sports fanatic is proud of all the people he has offered some help to over the years.

They include international talents like World Cup rugby league player Ali Brigginshaw, Olympic swimming medallist Leah Neale and Australian Boomers basketballer Matt Hodgson.

In his 30th year of coaching, Hegvold has served as President of the Ipswich Primary Schools Rugby League and coached Ipswich Primary School rugby league teams at Zone 4 Carnivals and Maitland tours for a decade.

He has been deputy chair of the Queensland 10-12 years rugby league and a Queensland selector for 10-12 years footy sides since 2005.

Hegvold is particularly proud being the only Ipswich Basketball coach to have overseen boys and girls teams at the under-14 club nationals.

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He has also coached at every level of Ipswich Basketball - U12s, U14s, U16s, U18s, SBL (all as head coach), and QBL (as assistant to Brad George).

But through it all, the former musician has never lost sight of the people who helped him most.

"I had some really, really good people before me that I relied on for advice, particularly in the early times,'' he said.

They include other Met West life members like good mate Murray Rogers, big influence Des Taege, Peter Crowley and Paul Martin.

Calvin's father John, who lives in Rockhampton, was also a leading coach after being the first basketballer from the city to make a Queensland side.

That shared knowledge also gave him early confidence in coaching.

Former rocker Calvin Hegvold at the Silkstone pool about 25 years ago.
Former rocker Calvin Hegvold at the Silkstone pool about 25 years ago.

Hegvold used to play in rock bands when in Rockhampton as a student and after moving to Ipswich.

He recalls gigs at Caesar's Palace and Ziggy's in the Ipswich CBD with bands called Silent Passenger and Short Circuit.

"I still like to keep my hand in music,'' he said, sharing how he relaxes away from school.

The multi-talented Hegvold also had stints in different newspaper roles before forging his full-time career as a teacher. He started at Silkstone, also working in the early years at Ipswich North and Ipswich East schools.

Receiving a life membership with Met West capped off his life of pleasing experiences.

"It means a lot,'' Hegvold said.

"I've tried to put everything into my coaching.

"I like the psychological side of it and the technical side but certainly an emotional investment is so important.''