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Andreoni honoured with Sports Builder Award

Longtime Vanier teacher and coach Ned Andreoni honoured by the Moose Jaw Express
2019-02-04 Ned Andreoni
Ned Andreoni, left, yells while his bench celebrates a key basket for Vanier in overtime at the 2004 SHSAA Hoopla provincial 4A basketball final in Regina. (Matthew Gourlie photograph)

Ned Andreoni was a character, a great coach and a staple of the local sports community and Vanier Collegiate.

Saturday, Andreoni became the recipient of the Moose Jaw Express’ Sports Builder Award.

The award was presented at the annual Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Banquet at the Heritage Inn. Andreoni died in 2007 at the age of 61 and his son Noel Andreoni accepted the award on his father’s behalf.

In 1967 when the Moose Jaw Regals baseball team needed a pitcher, president John Hunter got in contact with Fresno State and they sent up Andreoni, a shortstop. Nonetheless, between his play on the field and his personality Andreoni’s teammates took to him and he in turn fell in love with the city.

He returned with his high school sweetheart Lynn and they got married and raised two kids, Noel and Tia, in the city. Andreoni taught two years at Peacock and then the rest of his life at Vanier where the gym is named in his honour.

In his acceptance speech, Noel recounted some of memorable stories about his dad. Ned played men’s baseball for years and was one of the top players in the province, leading the Regals to two national championship appearances, winning batting titles and most valuable player awards. He also used to bring Noel to practice and have him in the third base dugout. Noel recalled a time when he returned home from practice without his two-year-old son, having left him behind at Ross Wells Park.

From pulling pranks on his younger players, dressing up as Santa Claus or wearing a gorilla mask to scare students, there was never a dull moment with Andreoni.

“And you put up with this for 40 years. Generations of people put up with this stuff,” Noel said before getting more serious. “But you trusted him. You trusted his process and you trusted him with your children.”

They had good reason to. Beyond his skill at passing on his knowledge of sports to his players, Andreoni was always focused on making players better — whether they were his players or the opponents — and helping mould better young people. He was tireless, endlessly enthusiastic and omnipresent in the local sports scene. He brought people together everywhere he went in the sports community.

Andreoni coached Vanier’s senior boys and girls team to their first provincial title. He was an assistant coach with the 1975 Vanier football team which won the school’s first city title. He would be a part of them winning more city titles and a provincial title.

He also guided Vanier’s golf team to their first city title.

He coached basketball at the Saskatchewan Games and twice at the Canada Games.

As busy as he was as a coach, Ned was also a basketball official for more than 25 years. He also played senior men’s basketball for 40 years and played softball and won seven straight league titles with the Park Hotel Giants. He also found time to use put his baseball knowledge to good use as an area scout for the Toronto Blue Jays.


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