Redbirds’ mentor Ashton wins national Most Valuable Coach award

Carey Ashton, right, shares some of his baseball insight with pitcher Aaron Besner during the 2007 season. / Photo: Owen Egan
Carey Ashton, right, shares some of his baseball insight with pitcher Aaron Besner during the 2007 season. / Photo: Owen Egan

By Earl Zukerman

Carey Ashton, the bench coach with the McGill men’s baseball team, has won the 2010 Chunky Most Valuable Coach award. The Montreal native had been one of six finalists from nearly 900 nominated coaches from across Canada, and went on to receive the most votes in an internet balloting process to take the MVC title along with $25,000 to help fund sport for his athletes and community.

Despite being diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at a young age, Ashton has coached and proven to his young athletes and the community at large that you can do anything that you set your mind towards. A huge contributor to the community, Ashton has been nominated for coach-of-the-year honours many times and in 2007 was named as the “Community Unsung Hero of the Year” by a local Montreal radio station.

“One of the many reasons I enjoy coaching is that allows me to look beyond my disability,” said Ashton. “I hope it also inspires other people with disabilities to get involved in the community and follow their dreams, whatever they may be. From a prizing perspective, I’m very appreciative because the bulk of it will be used to help pay for our team expenses, many of which involve my transportation costs. This will also take a huge burden off the parents who do such a great job fundraising every year. I would also like to give a portion of the prize money to the McGill baseball team, to help lower the registration fees for the student athletes.

“Thank you, Campbell Company of Canada. I truly love being a coach.”

A 13-year veteran baseball coach, Ashton also serves as head coach for the NDG Junior Lynx, consisting of players ages 13 and 14. Since his involvement in the Lynx program, Ashton’s major, junior and senior teams have won a combined five provincial titles and represented Quebec five times at the Canadian Little League championships. As a bench coach for the McGill Redbirds, he helped guide the team to the 2006 national championship in the Canadian Intercollegiate Baseball Association, McGill’s first such title.

“Chunky soup is excited to play a part in helping Carey Ashton continue to inspire athletes with values of leadership, physical activity and community,” said David Allard, senior brand manager, Campbell Company of Canada. “Competition for this year’s Chunky MVC was tough, with many exceptional coaches from across Canada nominated. We congratulate Carey on winning, and we are please to award $25,000 towards his athletes and community as well as an additional $25,000 in prizing to our other five regional finalist coaches. The Chunky MVC program represents an opportunity to honour some of the coaches who devote countless hours of their time helping develop athletes and make a real difference both on and off the field.”

The Chunky MVC program is an official nutrition sponsor of the Coaching Association of Canada.

“Through the values the importance of trained and ethical coaches, we strive to offer stimulating and relevant coach education opportunities to a greater number of coaches across the country,” said John Bales, chief executive officer of the CAC. “Thanks to the support of Campbell’s Chunky, we are delighted to invite Carey Ashton to participate in specifically targeted coach training activities within the National Coaching Certification Program as part of his winner package.”

“The CAC believes that amateur sport and proper nutrition are vital to growing strong communities. From teaching life skills like goal-setting to the importance of proper nutrition, coaches serve as true role models, knowing what their players need before, during and after the game. The Chunky MVC program celebrates the positive contributions made by some of the best coaches in Canada.”

To read a 2007 McGill Reporter profile of Carey Ashton, go to