Fr. Hebert Medal Launched


Rev. Fr. E.J. Hebert, the former basketball coach of St. Michael’s College, Batticaloa in the 1950s.

The third St. Eugene’s Trophy Inter-Club basketball tournament will see the introduction of the Fr. Hebert Medal for outstanding contributions to basketball.

The Medal is named after Rev. Fr. Eugene John Hebert (SJ), the former champion coach of St. Michael’s College, Batticaloa, who also functioned in several administrative roles in the local basketball scene such as Secretary of Sri Lanka Basketball Federation, Vice-President of Sri Lanka Basketball Federation and Secretary of Sri Lanka Schools Basketball Association.

Fr. Hebert, was born in 1923 in Louisiana, USA and joined the Jesuits at the age of 17. He was sent to Sri Lanka in 1948. He was first the basketball coach at St. Joseph’s College, Trincomalee, but it was at St. Michael’s College, Batticaloa that he formed several unbeatable sides. Such was St. Michael’s dominance in inter-school basketball tournaments that they were nicknamed ‘The Invincibles’.

Fr. Hebert has produced countless number of players who have gone onto represent the country at the international level with distinction with some of them even captaining Sri Lanka.

One of Fr. Hebert’s best advices to basketball players came at a seminar for basketball coaches which he was conducting. When a young coach asked him what was the hallmark of a great basketball player, Fr. Hebert came up with this reply. "The hallmark of a great basketball player is that his wife shouldn’t know whether he is right-handed or left-handed." Fr. Hebert believed in ambidexterity to excel in basketball and got his players to master both hands.

Interestingly, the recipient of the inaugural ‘Fr. Hebert Medal’ is one time his rival coach Mr. Francis de Almeida, who has dedicated his life to basketball coaching for nearly 40 years including a few stints with the national basketball team.

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