Throughout the 2017-18 season, U SPORTS sits down with one key athlete, coach, and staff member of each U SPORTS athletic program in our new interview series “Getting to know…”
Position at TWU: Head strength and conditioning coach
Previous job/position: Head strength and conditioning coach, Rugby Canada
Hometown: Saskatoon, Sask.
1. How did you get to your current position, and what do you enjoy most about our job?
I had been aware of the Trinity Western Spartans’ championship tradition in many sports and wanted to explore how such a small university could be so successful. My predecessor, Andrew Heming, was gracious to invite me to campus to see the Spartan training environment in 2016 and I was overwhelmed with the positive atmosphere and professionalism. After an intensive hiring process in 2017, I was humbled to accept my current role of head strength and conditioning coach to do my best to help the Spartans win championships and change lives.
What I enjoy most about working at Trinity Western is how athletes are valued as whole people, and not just for their athletic abilities. Spartans are able to perform with the advantage that they are genuinely cared for in every aspect of their lives, while being pushed towards championship standards. That blend is very enjoyable to work towards each day.
2. Who has had the most influence on your career?
I have been blessed through my entire life to have many great people guide me towards my current position. First off, my parents demonstrated faithful hard work serving others with the Salvation Army, helping me understand that others should come first. Without this example, I don’t think I would have lasted very long as a strength and conditioning coach, where servant leadership is necessary.
Secondly, Matt Barr, the current head of athletic performance at Rugby Canada has acted as a professional mentor and gave me many responsibilities, which honed my skills as a sports scientist and coach. Additionally, my weightlifting coach Danjuma Gad of the Ultimate Weightlifting Club pushed me to develop my eye and understanding for the barbell and coaching methodology.
3. What is your greatest sporting moment or achievement?
Strength and conditioning coaches are not the individuals achieving medals or trophies. I am simply thankful for the amazing athletes that I get to work with, and see their growth and performances.
4. How would you define a Trinity Western University student-athlete?
A Spartan student-athlete is dedicated to winning in his or her sport, winning for others, and transforming lives around them. Spartans are a unique family that press towards excellence in all areas.
5. What does success look like for the Trinity Western University athletics program?
Success for the Spartans does not rely only in a banner. Success for a Spartan program involves performing at a championship level, having good relationships, performing academically, and serving others in need. Spartan success is not self-serving, but success for all.
6. What’s the biggest challenge you face in today’s sports world?
The demands to win are increasing and being able to keep up, or to stay ahead is a constant challenge. As our university has limited resources, we are forced to be innovative and provide solutions to ensure we can continue our championship traditions. Staying humble is key. There are many great universities making it easy to stay humble.
7. Where would you like to see Canadian university sport in the next three to five years?
I am confident in Canadian student-athletes. Our athletes all across the country have only scratched the surface of their potential. As athletic departments and U SPORTS establish more comprehensive systems and structures, the university sport product in Canada will be world class. Many of the sports are already there. I would love to see more attention in the media as these athletes are well worth the watch.
8. If you could sit down for dinner with one person in the sports industry (athlete, coach or manager), who would it be? Why? What would you talk about?
I would love to sit down with Don Cherry. Many don’t agree with many of his views, but you don’t come across many more genuine individuals who cares for others. Don often speaks of individuals that are forgotten by many, people who are overlooked. Plus I am a Bruins fan.
9. What would you say to a sports fan who’s never watched a U SPORTS game/tournament/competition?
You are missing out! Dollar for dollar, the best sports entertainment around!
10. What do you enjoy doing when you’re away from work?
I love being with my beautiful wife from Newfoundland and our four awesome kids who love jumping on my back. I’ve been blessed to travel the world, but being home with my family is the best thing ever.