Welcome, Cohee!

Douglas College hires new Athletic Director

By Courtnie Martin, Sports Reporter

Ever since mid-summer, Douglas Campus Life and Athletics has been searching for the right person to fill the Director of Campus Life and Athletics position; a search that’s now over with the appointment of Paul Cohee, a man with 18 years of academic experience and a decorated athletic career.

Cohee graduated from University of British Columbia (UBC) with a diploma in Education: Curriculum and Instruction Studies, while minoring in biology. He was intrigued by the biology program, but ultimately decided he didn’t want to be locked away in a lab for the rest of his life. After graduation, Cohee had the fortune to travel to several different countries to work in many different schools. He started his career in South Africa before moving back to Canada to teach at an international school. His stint back home wouldn’t last long, though.

“I found that it was very difficult connecting with the Japanese males at this school. I came across a program called JET (Japanese Exchange for Teachers) basically we [Cohee and his wife] decided to move to Japan to study the language intensely. I learned about 500-600 Kanji—which is the formal writing structure.”

After three years in Japan, Cohee and his wife moved back to Canada, where he worked at Mulgrave in West Vancouver for seven years as a head of department and athletics director. Cohee grew the small school into a powerhouse, helping them take bronze in provincials, along with recognition through numerous other awards. The next stop on Cohee’s résumé was a provincial championship while coaching men’s basketball and teaching Grade Nine Japanese. After all the great academic and athletic experiences over the course of his career, he ended up at Stratford Hall as a principal, but he didn’t enjoy that as much as he thought he would. Finding himself further away from athletics and campus life than he liked, he decided to tip his hat to Douglas College. The position matched his background nearly to a “T.”

As for his athletic side, Cohee and his twin brother got a late start in sports in a small town in Saskatchewan, but made up for it with their passion and talent. After neither brother was recruited out of high school, they decided to go to a school in Alberta. While his brother left following the first year, Cohee stuck around and received an All-Star award in his second. From there, he headed to UBC, where he would play for three years after making the team as a walk-on. After graduating from UBC, he decided to play for a new pro league in Africa—the National Basketball League. His children haven’t taken to his passion though, instead choosing the more Canadian sport of hockey.

Cohee expressed the importance of staying focussed in college as he expressed his regret of flunking out his third year of school. “It was so embarrassing. I had to tell my parents, my family and friends [that] I failed out. The person who gets distracted by the parties and the prestige of playing a varsity sport [being the big man on campus] without looking down the road and saying, ‘I have other dreams and aspirations,’ is going to fail. If not today, then maybe tomorrow. My word of advice is vision—keep yourself grounded and not allow things to cloud your intelligence. Head baseball coach and academic coach ‘Cav’ Whitley said it best, ‘Student athlete… it’s said in that order for a reason.’”

With a strong resumé and an experienced head on his shoulders, it’s little surprise he got the job. Welcome to Douglas, Mr. Cohee.