John Phillip Prall
It is extremely difficult — if not impossible — to adequately summarize on a single page the career of a man who has dedicated over 30 years of his life to athletics in the Berwick area — especially when the man is so modest and unassuming that he doesn't even bother to keep accurate records of his accomplishments.
John Prall is such a man. From the first year of his teaching career at Hants West Rural High to his retirement from Central Kings Rural High School nearly 35 years later in 1994, John coached and contributed to the development of hundreds of athletes both at the interscholastic and community levels. John's expertise extends to many sports and his success at molding young athletes encompassed many different team and individual sports. For every year of his teaching career, John coached — often several sports in the same year — and often at the community level as well. In addition to this impressive schedule. John frequently competed as a player himself on a number of high profile and very competitive teams. At the same time, he often served as an executive member on many community sports organizations and, amazingly, still found time to be a very active official and referee in a number of sports.
John's teams were all characterized by several traits — a strong emphasis on skills, a high work ethic, a keen sense of fair play, and a great respect for both their own athletic abilities and that of their opponents. John's teams were perennial contenders for league, regional and provincial championships. Throughout his coaching life on many occasions, his high school teams in basketball, volleyball, hockey, softball and track and field were in the running for provincial crowns. Among the accomplishments of greatest note are:
- the 1966/67 provincial High School Girls basketball championship
- the 1978 provincial "AA" High school boys hockey championship
- the 1994 provincial Division 2 High school boys hockey championship and several "A" division provincial Track and Field championships.
As well as his outstanding coaching record, John served as President of the
Berwick and District Athletic Association for several years and as President of the
Berwick and District Arena Association for over 20 years. Although he has retired from teaching, he continues to serve as President of the Valley High School Hockey League. In 1994 after his last year of teaching, John was presented with the Hugh A. Noble Memorial Award — the highest award of the Nova Scotia School Athletic Association - given in recognition for exemplary service to high school sports. John's former athletes all speak high praise for those lessons learned under his guidance — lessons that not only made them better athletes but better persons. Thus it is fitting that Coach Prall's tremendous contributions be best summarized in the words of one of his former players:
"This natural born coach has always been a winner. This kind and gentle man was a delight to have as a coach. Above all Coach John Prall is a man whom we all respected and held in the highest regard."
Inducted June 2001