Inducted November 13, 2004
In the early 1960’s, Don Coaker dominated distance running in Newfoundland and Labrador. Running under the Church Lads Brigade (CLB) colours, Don took the Tely 10 title for six consecutive years. Don’s accomplishments in distance events throughout most of the 1960’s were unparalleled, as he set the pace in races in Central and Eastern Newfoundland. A list of Don’s titles during his career as a competitive runner include six Tely Ten titles, six Provincial One-Mile titles, five Provincial Six-Mile titles, a Provincial Marathon title and a runner-up finish in the marathon. Don was one of the few runners to compete outside of the province in 1964 when he attended the Guelph Road Races, finishing eighth in a 15-mile race despite running with an injury. Don Coaker was the first Newfoundlander to receive recognition under the AAU National Standards Plan, having qualifying times in the ten-mile run and marathon. Don’s achievements were not restricted to the solitude of distance running. He rowed in the St. John’s Regatta with the CLB for seven years, making the championship race in four of those years. Don also played in the St. John’s Mercantile Hockey League for six years. Once his career as a competitive athlete began to wind down, Don volunteered his time with the Mount Pearl Minor Soccer Association as a coach and referee from 1974 until 1982. Don Coaker’s outstanding athletic achievements have earned him induction into the Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Hall of Fame.