While many kilometers separate members of the Awad family, they remain a tightly knit group within the lines of basketball.
Lee Awad’s arrival at St. Clair College in early January has him playing varsity basketball for the same man his father Roger played for 30 years ago—college athletic director Al Hoffman.
“When I first had the opportunity to meet Lee, I was not surprised by the fact he was a courteous and respectful individual, just like his father,” Hoffman said.
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The older Awad played for Hoffman at the old Western Ontario Institute of Technology (the forerunner of St. Clair College) for three seasons from 1962-64, and while his son is not coached by his former mentor, he is comfortable knowing Lee is in a program rum by Hoffman.
“Al taught me a great deal back in those days,” the father recalls. “His lessons not only pertained to the game of basketball, they also influenced life’s decisions.”
Roger passed that influence on to all his children at an early age, resulting in the development of four talented basketball players.
But Lee stands alone as the follower, and wears his father’s No.4 jersey.
“Even before I started playing, I knew I wanted to wear the same number he wore when he played,” said the 20-year-old business major. “He was the first to teach me the game, and I wanted to honor that.”
He remembers his father’s early lessons mostly taking place in the basement of his home while growing up in Waterloo.
“All I ever did was practice my ball handling skills in the basement because we had no place to really shoot the ball,” he explains.
“So he would always convert anything we had into a defender. chairs, ping pong tables, bikes, etc. Whatever there was, it became my job to protect the ball from it.”
With a career move to South Bend Ind. His father now travels four hours to watch every home game Lee plays and holds a particular interest in attending next season’s games.
“ My youngest son Jon is planning to play for St. Clair next year as well. So while having one son play for your old school is nice, I would have never dreamed of both of them doing so,” the father says. “That’s going to be a real special moment for me.”
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