William Terry Osborne
Osborne Builder of Sport in Wolfville
Terry Osborne was Acadia University’s first Director of Athletics and an outstanding coach of both men’s and women’s sport. Arriving in 1923, after completing a master’s degree at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, Osborne profoundly influenced the development of sport, not only at Acadia University but in Wolfville and in Nova Scotia. He was the founder of the Maritime Interscholastic Track meets, the Acadia Relays and was instrumental in organizing provincial associations for basketball and for sports officials.
Osborne is perhaps best remembered for his skill as a basketball coach. He coached the men’s teams, including the 1930 team that represented eastern Canada in the national finals as well as coaching teams that won provincial senior titles or Maritime intercollegiate titles. Women’s basketball flourished under Osborne. Under his guidance, Acadia won eight Maritime Intercollegiate titles with such stars as Jean Ingraham, Gertrude Phinney and Marion Eaton. He also coached varsity swimming and tennis and was the advisor-coach for the Tumblers Club.
He organized sports events for schools; the Acadia Relays became one of the most popular high school events during his time. He involved townspeople such as Leslie Eaton, Avery deWitt and Vern Eville in the organization and running of the events. Osborne was also a leader in regulating and organizing sports officials. His influence and innovation extended province-wide.
Osborne also participated in Wolfville sports. Reports of volleyball matches between faculty from Dalhousie and Acadia list Osborne among the players; he also played hockey. He was active in the Wolfville Lawn Tennis Club both as a player and as an organizer. In 1931, for instance, he teamed with Leslie Eaton or Avery deWitt to win the men’s doubles in a number of events with other clubs from other towns and was a convenor of the Annapolis Valley tennis tournament that year.
After leaving Acadia in 1940, Osborne worked with the YMCA, both in the United States and internationally. Working for the Y at the end of WWII, he was the director of 800 camps for displaced persons in Germany. He did similar work in Korea in the early 1950s.