Lynne Beecroft

Lynne Beecroft
Lynne Beecroft

Category: Presidents' Alumni Awards

Name: Lynne Beecroft

UVic degree and year: Bachelor of Arts, 1982; Master of Education, 1994

Current hometown: Victoria, BC      

Birthplace: Comox, BC


As a logger’s daughter, Beecroft lived in remote camps until she was 10 years old. Her first school in Juskatla, BC on Haida Gwaii had two rooms, a couple of portable classrooms, no gymnasium and no fields.  The great outdoors was her playground.  This was where she learned everything that she would need to know to be successful in the sports she loved: ice hockey, basketball, softball and field hockey. 

She came to UVic in 1975, when women’s field hockey wasn’t an Olympic sport, yet trained hard in hopes of playing for the Canadian National field hockey team. In 1977, she was selected to represent Canada and continued to train and play until 1985. The highlights of her career were finishing second at the 1983 World Cup and her team’s place at the 1984 Olympics. From there, Beecroft became assistant coach of the UVic women’s field hockey team. That November, UVic won their first intercollegiate field-hockey championship. Beecroft later became head coach—and has loved coaching—much more than playing the game. Over the past 38 years, her teams have won 14 intercollegiate championships. She is even more proud to see how successful the athletes have become in their chosen fields of work.

Q: What was the moment you realized your career calling?

LB: From 10 years of age, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to be a difference-maker in people’s lives, even though I didn’t know exactly what that meant! However, after four years of working towards a degree in Physical Education, I realized that I wasn’t excited about teaching students who didn’t want to be taking PE. So, I switched faculties and completed a BA in Human Performance. A “God-wink,” Nancy (Charlton) Mollenhauer asking me if I wanted to be the assistant coach of the UVic women’s field hockey team, put me on the path to become a field-hockey coach; thus, I have been able to teach students who have wanted to learn and have wanted to be at practice every day! It has been a blessing to have had this job for the past 38 years!

 

Q: What is a favourite book you read in the last five years and why?

LB: I love The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy. The book came into my life when there was so much fear, loss, loneliness and mental-health issues created by the pandemic. Through conversations between the boy and the three animals that he journeyed with in his book, Charlie Mackesy offers us many profound teachings…like when the boy asked the mole, “What do you think is the biggest waste of time?” The mole’s answer was “Comparing yourself to others.”

 

Q: What is your advice to younger people entering your line of work or who feel lost or confused about their future?

LB: I’ve read that if we’re passionate (love) about what we do, money will come. When I started to coach at UVic, I was paid $3,000 as a sessional instructor for the entire year! Over the years, my salary didn’t improve that much more. I loved coaching enough to stay in the position, but I had to take on other jobs to help pay my expenses. Thankfully, we were eventually unionized; thus, our salaries improved enough to make coaching my only job. So, for those who are unsure about what they want to do, I would suggest they follow their hearts, and do what they love to do. Like me, I trust that money will follow! 

 

Q: What’s a part of your daily routine that you can’t do without? Do you have a mantra that you can share? 

LB: My favorite mantra is “Do the best you can, with what you’ve got, with where you’re at.”  Athletically, I know I was never the best athlete, but I did my best in every training session (on or off the field), and in every game. Thankfully, it was good enough to allow me to achieve my dream of participating in the Olympics! As a coach, I know I am not the best, but I offer what I can, including a safe environment to learn, a positive comment to those who are struggling at practice and life skills to help athletes navigate their futures after they finish playing varsity field hockey. Where am I at, now? I realize now that we are all teachers; thus, everyone in our lives can be our teacher. We just have to be open to those learnings.

 

For the full list of 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, click here.