Cornwall Timberwolves’ Atom (Under 12) football coach Richard Pellissier-Lush admitted to feeling shocked about winning the 2020 National Indigenous Coaching Award.
Pellissier-Lush, who represents Lennox Island First Nation, recently was honored as the male winner of this award, which goes to those who make a lasting impact to Indigenous sports in Canada.
“I have a hard time getting compliments and getting awards and stuff, so this is very surreal for me. I feel like there are many more Indigenous coaches across Canada that are more fitting and deserving,” Pellissier-Lush said. “I’m very proud of the recognition and the nomination that I received, and it goes to show the amount of work that you put in over the years that people do see the amount of passion and work ethic that you have and the kids kind of relay that same message.”
Recently Pellissier-Lush, along with Veronica McDonald, from Chipewyan First Nation, who coaches Arctic Sports in Yellowknife, were recognized as the male and female winners at the Petro-Canada Leadership Awards Gala.
“I’m so proud and so thankful,” Pellissier-Lush said. “I’m very humbled but I feel that there are other coaches more deserving of this recognition.”
Pellissier-Lush had a standout playing career which included such highlights as playing for his Colonel Gray High School, University of Manitoba, where he accomplished the ultimate in 2007 by winning the Vanier Cup and competing with the Holland College Hurricanes, where he celebrated a couple of Atlantic Football League titles.
Making a huge impact within the community, Pellissier-Lush served as the Cornwall Timberwolves’ Varsity team for four years prior to coaching his son (Owen) at the Atom (under 12) this year.
Approximately three years ago, Pellissier-Lush dedicated his time and passion towards organizing a flag football team in Abegweit First Nation, which has had exceptional results.
“We started with three or four kids that were super interested in football,” Pellissier-Lush said. “We have almost three full teams of successful flag football teams. And this past year we were very successful and we got our first bronze medal in one of those divisions.”
Currently, Pellissier-Lush is still active as he is still playing, working as general manager and owner of the Island Mariners, who are a senior men’s tackle team that competes in the Maritime Football League.
“I felt excited for him,” Owen Pellissier-Lush, his son said. “I’ve learned how to be a leader on the field and how to help my teammates be the best they can be.”
Meanwhile Pellissier-Lush has a coaching philosophy that football isn’t only about wins and losses.
“It’s about really creating… community leaders and successful adults,” he said.
Those words are a true definition of what coaching youth sports is all about.