York basketball alumnus attributes career success to playing sport

For York basketball alumnus Tim Rider (BA ’86), playing sport and achieving success go hand-in-hand.

As a carded student-athlete, Rider received financial assistance toward his postsecondary education while at York. Coupled with his savings and a part-time job, he did not rely on student loans to complete his economics degree. Despite this, he was troubled to see so many fellow classmates struggling to pay back debts when they finished school.

Right: Tim Rider. Photo by Procomm.

The experience motivated Rider to provide opportunities for students to engage in sport while obtaining their education. He believes that both are vitally important to give students a fighting chance at success after graduation. “Anything that can help folks to be more productive right out of school, instead of just trying to pay back debt, is good for society in general,” says Rider.

To this aim, he and wife Linda (BA ’87) established the Tim and Linda Rider Basketball Bursary through a gift of $27,000 to the York University Foundation. The endowed gift, along with government matching through the Ontario Trust for Student Support program, will be awarded annually to a continuing undergraduate student-athlete who demonstrates financial need.

“Scholarships and awards free up time in a student’s schedule, allowing them to engage themselves by getting involved in extracurricular activities,” says Robert Tiffin, York vice-president students. “It is wonderful to see support that enhances the student experience at York, both athletically and intellectually.”

Left: Rider (left) in action as a player with York’s basketball team

In 2004, Rider was inducted into the York Sport Hall of Fame for exemplifying the spirit and ideals of York University sport in his professional and community life. He currently serves on the board of the York University Alumni Association and on the Sport and Recreation Advisory Council. In addition to staying involved with the York community, Rider devotes his time to the Children’s Wish Foundation, Variety Village and serves on the Board of the Durham Region Children’s Aid Foundation.

“We are grateful to Tim and Linda Rider for their valuable contribution in support of student-athletes at York,” says Patricia Murray, director of sport and recreation at York University. “With 23 interuniversity sports teams on campus, there is great need to financially assist those students who partake in sport.”

Rider played for York’s then Yeomen basketball team from 1981 to 1986, during which time he won three Ontario Universities Athletic Association (OUAA) championships and was celebrated as a five-time OUAA All-Star. He is among York’s career leaders in total points, points per game, field goals, rebounds, assists and steals.

He participated under the leadership of coach Bob Bain, the longest-serving basketball coach in Canada. With over 30 years under his belt leading the men’s basketball team, Bain can still be found at York today coaching the men’s basketball Lions. “It is great to see a talented York alumnus making a significant contribution in order to help future students in the basketball program,” says Bain. “Tim continues to lead by example as he did in his playing years at York.”

Rider draws many parallels between playing competitive sports in school and an individual’s ability to set goals and achieve success in their career. He stresses the importance of learning to deal with failure, something he experienced first hand when he injured his knee in the last home game of his senior year. He learned a valuable lesson about humility and teamwork as he sat out the rest of that season.

After his basketball career at York, Rider continued on with his goals, earning an MBA at Queen’s University while applying his basketball knowledge as assistant coach of the university’s men’s basketball team. “I wanted to make an impact by helping other players to succeed in their goals as I was able to at York,” says Rider, who demonstrated great leadership skills while being at the top of his MBA class.

Today, Rider realizes that many of the lessons he now teaches to his three children came in part from playing sport at York. In addition to improving confidence and self-esteem, Rider, who is regional vice-president, commercial financial services, at the Royal Bank of Canada, believes that sport can also help students learn how to succeed in a competitive environment as well as teach them about communication, leadership, problem solving and dealing with conflict and stress.

“Playing sport taught me about life and about trying hard and succeeding, and even working hard and failing,” says Rider. “In many ways, playing basketball taught me as much as school.”

This gift comes during York to the Power of 50, the largest fundraising campaign in York’s history, which celebrates nearly 50 years of exponential growth and dynamic achievement tied to the University’s 50th anniversary.

Submitted to YFile by Earleen Dover, communications officer, York University Foundation.