Sports Death of beloved Winnipeg basketball coach after freak accident a blow to the community, friends say
What Texas Western's Black players and white coach did in 1966 continues to ripple
What Texas Western accomplished that NCAA championship game in 1966 slowly and quietly made an impact that echoed more loudly as time passed on.In a tiny motel room in College Park, Maryland, the Black players had been summoned. They had just finished their pregame meal and Texas Western coach Don Haskins had cornered his big center David Lattin with a demand.
Family and friends are mourning the loss of a 24-year-old Winnipeg man who passed away after suffering brain damage in a freak accident earlier this month.
On Feb. 6, Matt Jonsson hit his head on a low basement ceiling and suffered a severe spinal injury that left him paralyzed below the chest. He was hospitalized and put on a ventilator as doctors worked to stabilize the fracture and wait for the swelling to go down.
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In that time, family members worked to raise money to renovate his home so it was wheelchair accessible.
"It's very hard. It's just very unexpected because in the beginning we were faced with him being paralyzed, which I was very upset about. But now in hindsight, I wish that that's all that was happening," said his mother Tish Jonsson.
Matt suffered severe brain damage as a result of the injury and doctors told his family he'd never wake up. He was taken off life support last week.
For a man who loved to ride BMX and dirt bikes and play sports, the accident that took his life seems unfathomable.
"[Matt and his brother Cole] got hurt so many times and so many times that they should have broken their necks, I think. And then for a senseless thing like this to happen, I don't understand. I just don't understand it at all," Jonsson said.
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The Canadiens are back home after a tumultuous week in which they lost four hockey games and a head coach . The good news is that they found some confidence Saturday night when they dominated the Winnipeg Jets but had to settle for a single point in a 2-1 in overtime loss at Bell MTS Place . The Canadiens had two chances to win this game and squandered both of them. The first chance was in regulation when Montreal outshot Winnipeg 41-19 but managed only one goal by Nick Suzuki. There was more luck than skill involved as Suzuki found an opening on Connor Hellebuyck with a shot from below the goal line. The second opportunity was in the overtime.
She says her son was loved by many and will be remembered as a generous, sweet man who loved adventure.
Once Matt saw a $100 bill floating down the street and ran out of the house to grab it.
"My mother and I tried to convince him to put it in the bank, but he wasn't having it. He went to the skate park and he ordered pizza and drinks for everybody," Jonsson said.
"It didn't matter who it was. And I think that sums him up pretty good."
She says her son, who she worked with and lived with, always wrapped her in a big hug and told her how much he loved her.
Dedicated basketball player, coach
Evan Cox knew Matt as his teacher, coworker and friend.
Cox, who is a physical education teacher at Sturgeon Heights Collegiate, coached boys basketball when Matt was a student there. Last year, Matt joined Cox as an assistant coach on the girls basketball team at the school.
Ever since he was a player, Cox said Matt was driven.
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New Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme likes to limit his practices to 30-35 minutes, but he wants them to be intense. About 30 minutes into practice Monday at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard, Ducharme blew his whistle, stopped the action and held a mini team meeting on the ice. The Canadiens were working on Ducharme’s new forechecking system and the coach didn’t like what he was seeing. “I said instead of keeping going for three minutes and not doing it the right way I’ll stop, we’ll walk through it and they’ll understand and we’ll leave here better,” Ducharme explained after practice. “You always start with a plan,” Ducharme added.
"He kind of left a legacy of playing the game the right way, an insanely hard worker [who] dedicated so much of his time to just pursuing excellence, just trying to get better every single day," he said.
"I think he was doing the same thing to get the girls to have that kind of intensity, that kind of drive and focus and of building hope in them that they can try to get to where they want to get to."
Another coach, Stephen Tackie worked with Matt throughout high school and said he was a truly unique student.
"He recognized he was part of something bigger than himself, and I think he took that role on that he had to give back."
Matt was also instrumental in getting Skate Park West off the ground in Charleswood.
He went to planning meetings, worked to raise money to have it built and when it did open, he took first aid training and volunteered to keep watch in case anyone got hurt.
Jonsson says the money her family raised for Matt when he was in the hospital — nearly $87,000 — will go to building memorial benches at Skate Park West and starting a fund at to help people play basketball who may not have the means.
"He touched so many people," Jonsson says. "We're going to use that money to honour him, to keep his legacy going."
Monmouth women's basketball coach Jody Craig resigns, two days after suspension .
Monmouth University announces women's basketball coach Jody Craig has resigned, but still doesn't reveal why she was suspended before MAAC tournament.And a day after the Hawks bowed out in the opening round to close out a 2-16 season, the school announced that Craig has resigned, effective immediately.