Basketball: York's Bain retiring after 37 seasons

York Lions coach Bob Bain's players gave him a Hollywood ending of sorts when they took down then top-ranked Carleton last Friday.

Bain, who has the feat of having coached in five decades, is finally retiring from the Lions' sideline after 37 years, 11 division titles and six OUA championships. The real admirable element of his career is he won in several eras. York had those late 1970s, early '80s Yeomen teams with the likes of David Coulthard, Chris McNeilly, Paul Layefsky, Bo Pelech, Lonnie Ramati and Ev Spence (and a future commentator for the Toronto Raptors, a gentleman named Paul Jones who went from high school sixth man to playing for Canada internationally) which won a couple bronze medals at nationals.

Evoking that era brings it home. There is no men's third-place game anymore. York isn't the Yeomen anymore. That speaks to how many years Bain's excellent career spanned. More recently, his teams won a couple OUA East titles at the expense of Carleton and had a Cinderella run to the national semi-final in 2002.

Bain's last scheduled game is vs. Laurentian on Feb. 20, at home. Between this and Don Horwood retiring from Alberta last season, there's a few legends stepping back from the sideline who will not be easily replaced.
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  1. Bain's career has been a littany of very talented teams who underachieved especially those early teams you bring up who had the best players but zero National championships. Don't forget Enzo Spagnola, Grant Parobec, Mark Jones, Tim Ryder and several others - the talent was unbelievable. Once again tonight in a big game his team continually took bad shots, defended no one, played with little emotion and looked like a team that had no business even being mentioned for a playoff spot. York made a run at the end of the third quarter and again Bain was outcoached as U of T went to their zone and York had 4 straight possessions with terrible decisions resulting in bad shots and it was game done. Toronto basketball deserved so much more than what Bain gave York over the years.

  2. Come on, Anon 10:27, I think Bob Bain deserves a little more credit and respect than you give him.
    Six OUA championships and numerous first place finishes.
    Perhaps the reason why York didn't win a national championship in those days
    was because they happened to play at the same time as the Victoria Vikings teams that defeated all comers for 7 straight years.
    Over the last ten years Bain has beaten Dave Smart more than any other coach, and twice in the post season.
    Compare Bain's teams to what Toronto and Ryerson produced over the last three decades
    It's not even close.
    You've got some nerve to say Toronto basketball deserved so much more than what Bain gave York.

  3. It is too bad that Canadian OUA players don't share the same passion as those in the late 70's and 80's. It's seems the word team is slowly becoming obsolete. Coach Bain has paid his dues.

  4. 37 Seasons. Nuf said!!!

  5. Cantankerous2/13/2010 8:48 am

    Anon 3:49...
    I'm not sure I agree with you on your point that today's players do not
    have the same passion or desire to succeed as those players from 25-30 years ago.
    Look at the Carleton Ravens, for example.
    That's a team full of talented players that have personal stats aside for the good of the program.
    As a result, the Ravens have become the most successful OUA team in history.
    Perhaps the talent pool level is different now from then in the CIS because
    of all the players now that head to the NCAA.
    But you can't tell me players like Jeanty, Gibson-bascombe or Brad Rootes are
    any less passionate about the game than those who played in earlier eras.
    Sure, there are loafers and me first types today.
    But that type of player was around back then too, believe me, I know.
    And Bob Bain would know too, because after 37 years, he's seen it all.
    Congrats to Coach Bain on an amazing career.

  6. Solid career but "amazing" ? longevity for sure but what kind of lasting impression has Bain made on Toronto basketball? what is his legacy growing the sport over the last 37 years and how will he be remembered in Toronto by the basketball community. And how many of those 7 Vic championships did York actually play Vic at the Nationals - usually York choked early. Best of luck to him in retirement, he had a reasonably good career and in my opinion underachieved if you look at the entire body of work. With someone actually working hard and coaching with passion York will be a much better program in the future. Coach Oliveri should deliver that.

  7. Wow. Anon 10:27 and 5:56, your bitter "insight" into the York Yeomen / Lions and the career of Coach Bain sounds a lot like personal resentment and jealousy to me. I'd hate to guess who you are but you sound like someone who has been sitting in the shadows of exemplary people and haven't yet seen the big picture. I played for Coach Bain for three years, never started, rarely played, and didn't win a thing. None of that matters now. Coach Bain taught me discipline and dedication. I have nothing but respect for the man who helped me get through life and university. If a career is measured by wins and losses, then maybe he did have an average career. He's not perfect but Coach Bain is on a very short list of people who have truly inspired me. You should be so lucky if you could positively affect the number of lives that he has. In contrast to your absolutely ignorant statement about what Toronto basketball needs, sure, he may have slowed down, but I say we need more people like Coach Bain who promotes the game and who has run and attended camps for kids of all economic backgrounds. He's helped average students excel and he's helped poor students succeed. And to say he lacks passion? I still attend games and speak to him regularly. He is a fierce competitor and takes every loss to heart. The idea that you could slam a man who has given so much only shows that you have a personal grudge that goes beyond simple blog commentary. If you could step off your bitter soapbox, you might learn something from this man. I'll concede that you are generally right about his success with the wins and losses, but you're wrong about the man, and thankfully, nothing you can say in response to this or other posts will convince people that your spiteful comments are anything less than a personal attack on a man who has accomplished more than you. Yes, he had an "amazing" career.

  8. He's gonna scissor-kick them in the back of the head!

    Just trying to capture the spirit of the thing ...

  9. very pleased and not surprised that Coach Bain affected your life positively and still does. He's a good guy by all accounts. But convince me that CIS basketball is further ahead in Toronto after 37 years of him being a key figure than it was in the mid-60's and one could easily argue that it is further behind. How many in 10 GTA high school players/students do you think could name the York head coach by name ? Nice guy, teams won a bit sometimes but he was a university gym teacher who happened to coach the basketball team. By the way, I think they will beat Laurentian and if Ryerson beats Toronto tonight, York will then beat Queen's to get another crack at Carleton.

  10. Went to "Bob Bain Night" last night and was blown away by the amount of ex-teammates I hadn't seen in years and the support for Bob was overwhelming. Like a previous comment Bain is also a big influence in my life and I'll tell you there's not a lot of people who can fill his shoes. Not sure why it's a big deal that the guy above my comments needs convincing that high school basketball players need to know who Bob is but his job was never to be a "key figure" in the GTA anyway. His job was to coach and mentor York STUDENT athletes (he always made sure we realized we were students first). He did this and way more. Take a look at the banners in the gym. Take a look at the people from all over the province who showed up last night. Twice (?) national coach of the year. I can't even quote the stats they said in the awards ceremony they were so long. He gave everything to his players and that's where it counts and the proof was up at the reception for him last night. Cut the guy some slack. If you're looking for the Messiah of CIS and GTA basketball and want a superstar then start up a petition to allow full ride scholarships and start asking the universites to dump a ton of cash into the system so we can be exactly like the Americans. Hey maybe we could get Bobby Knight to coach York. No thanks. I'm doing very well in life thanks in big part to coach Bain. GO COACH GO!!!

  11. Well-said, and we wish Mr. Bain every blessing in the next phase of his life.

  12. 'nuff said:

  13. Good for Oliveri tonight

  14. Yes props to Oliveri tonight. Props to the whole coaching staff, and team for functioning as one. Keep going. You have it in you!!!