BCTF Online Museum

A Teacher’s Legacy

LONGSHOT: The Brian Upson Story, was produced by Rockridge Secondary film students.

This enthusiastic team raised money, collected footage rights, conducted interviews with former players and family, created posters, and organized the February 2017 premiere.   

Brian Upson was head coach of the West Vancouver basketball team from the 1950s to 1982. Of all the Highlander teams that he took to provincial championships, only one made the finals. The film shows the high drama of the final game against Argyle, with 13 seconds remaining when the ball hit the backboard and rim before rolling into the arms of a West Vancouver defender. After almost 30 years of coaching, Brian finally had his championship.   

Brian’s co-coach, Tom Rippon, shared their remarkable run to the championship. Brian had been battling stomach cancer for three years, and for the past year was unable to move around much, with the exception for basketball and doctor appointments. Sometimes, attending basketball practices and games was the only reason Brian would venture out. Two weeks to the day of the BC championship game, Brian passed away. 

It may seem odd that Rockridge Secondary is making a film about an event that happened at West Vancouver Secondary, but I was a student at West Vancouver in the mid-90s and Tom Rippon was my basketball coach. In my Grade 12 year I won the Brian Upson Memorial Trophy for MVP. Brian’s grandson, Grade 12 student Matt Upson is currently Rockridge’s starting point guard.   

A film trailer is at http://bit.ly/2jHtBQa.

By David Shannon, Rockridge Secondary in West Vancouver
Reprinted from Teacher magazine, Volume 29,  Number 3, March 2017