Coach Lambert shares his love for the game

Catch You on the Rebound

By CURTIS J. PHILLIPS, Connect Contributor

Keyano Huskies Associate Athletic Director Jonathan Lambert watching on the sidelines at the 2015 Canadian Colleges Athletic Conference Men’s Soccer National Championships last weekend in St. Lambert, Quebec. PHOTO: Curtis J. Phillips, Connect Weekly

Keyano Huskies Associate Athletic Director Jonathan Lambert watching on the sidelines at the 2015 Canadian Colleges Athletic Conference Men’s Soccer National Championships last weekend in St. Lambert, Quebec. PHOTO: Curtis J. Phillips, Connect Weekly

Sitting in a restaurant, while talking over a plate of wings; it is evident that Jonathan Lambert is passionate about his career and life within the confines of amateur sports.

Lambert, 41, is currently in St. Lambert, Quebec, as part of the Keyano Huskies contingent participating at the 2015 Canadian Colleges Athletic Conference Men’s Soccer National Championships. If he was 20 years younger, there is no doubt that he would want to be out on the pitch suiting up. But, for now, the affable Associate Athletic Director will be on the sidelines helping out where he can.

A two sport All-Star athlete (basketball and softball), Lambert grew up in Carbonear, Newfoundland and graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland. He taught in a remote Northern Manitoba school, and later headed south for four years of teaching and coaching high school baseball and basketball in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
It is here that his natural passion was nurtured.

“It was huge…I got to see how important sport was imbedded into the part of the US society,” said Lambert, who as a teenager was a 6-foot-3 point guard on Newfoundland’s provincial teams.

“Parents would come to games and the students would come. How they supported the local colleges was also a real eye-opener for me in terms of commitment and support for their athletics. It was for generations,” he said.

Ten years ago, Lambert would relocate to fill the role of Athletic Director at Fort McMurray Composite High School.

“When I got to Composite, although it was a great school, it was lacking in the sense of having a high level of athletic presence,” reflected Lambert.

“The gymnasium itself was in poor shape, team uniforms, no national anthem being played (at Challenge Cup games) etc. With the help of (then Principal) Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Councillor Phil Meagher, he realized that once I got in the position, and I believed that something was good for the students and sports, that I was the type of person if I got a “No” for an answer for my first question, my second question would be: “If that is the way it is, how can I go about the right way of changing it?”

“At times, I did butt heads, unfortunately, but after they saw my passion and commitment through coaching and trying to lead athletics in the right way and the many hours and weekends it took me away from my family, they started to say: “OK… maybe this guy knows what he is talking about.”

Lambert explained, “At times, I did butt heads, unfortunately, but after they saw my passion and commitment through coaching and trying to lead athletics in the right way and the many hours and weekends it took me away from my family, they started to say: “OK… maybe this guy knows what he is talking about.”

These words are not braggart, but simple facts. (Facts this journalist has also observed the last 10 years. The proof was in the pudding.)

Three of those years have been in his current role at Keyano Huskies Athletics and their involvement in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference men’s and women’s basketball, futsal, soccer, volleyball and men’s hockey.

“When I first came here (Keyano College) I had mixed emotions,” said Lambert, who along with wife Rachel have two daughters Zoe, 5 and Nya, 3.

“Even though I loved – with my whole heart – Comp High School and still to ‘til this day, I knew it was time for a change. Since I have made the jump, working with the Huskies has been one of the best decisions I have ever made,” he said. “Our expectations at Keyano are to try to make it the best it can be.”

With that Lambert, nicknamed Burger (due to the fact that his father owned and still operates the A&W restaurant franchise in Carbonear), smiles, and with a twinkle in his eye, orders another plate of wings.

Huskies finished sixth at the 2015 Canadian Colleges Athletic Conference Men’s Soccer National Championships falling to the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Eagles 1-0

Catch you on the rebound.  

– Connect Weekly –