By Jadon Frank and Trina Radcliffe
Olds College Broncos men's volleyball Head Coach Ryan Marsden continues to build on his already impressive volleyball resume as he was named head coach of Volleyball Canada's Junior Men's team for Summer 2020. Marsden was previously named as ACAC men's volleyball Coach of the Year at the 2020 ACAC men's volleyball Championships, February 26.
After being an assistant coach with the Senior B men's team in 2019 and later being the Head Coach of that same team, Marsden will be leading the Junior Team, with assistant coaches Ian Eibbitt (coaching staff at McMaster University) and Gabriel deGroot (Queen's University volleyball program). Marsden also previously coached with Volleyball Canada on the Men's National B Team in 2007, and was Head Coach at Volleyball Canada Centre of Excellence in Calgary.
"I am honored by the trust that those at Volleyball Canada have placed in me to lead this group," Marsden said. "As a coaching staff we will do our best to prepare them for qualifying for World Championships next summer."
Tryouts take place in Gatineau, Quebec from April 30-May 3rd. There are two official competitions that the team will compete in. The first being up the QE2 in Edmonton from May 13-20th, called the NORCECA U21 Continental Championships. And, the second called U21 PAN-AM Cup, taking place in Colorado Springs, Colorado from August 31-September 9th.
"This team will be made up of the best male volleyball players that the country has to offer who are born in 2001 or 2002," Marsden explained.
Marsden is in his second year as Head Coach of the men's volleyball program at Olds College after a six-year break from coaching ACAC volleyball. Prior to coming to Olds, Marsden was the Head Coach for the SAIT Trojans men's team from 2007 – 2012, where he led the team to an ACAC Conference Championship (2010) and a Silver medal at CCAA Nationals (2010). Prior to that, he coached at Mount Royal University, University of Alberta, and University College of the Cariboo (Thompson Rivers University).
During the 2019-20 season, the Olds College Broncos men's volleyball team had a goal to make history as the previous three seasons saw the Broncos finish dead last with 0-24 records. That streak ended in dramatic fashion as the Broncos swept the Ambrose Lions November 15 and 16, 2019 for the first back-to-back wins for the Broncos since being re-instated into the ACAC back in 2012-2013. The Broncos continued battling all season long and ended up with a 6-18 record that may not look impressive to all, but a tremendous achievement for a young Broncos team focused on changing the trajectory for Olds College Broncos men's volleyball. The six wins doubled the total the team had won from 2012-2019 and the most since they had seven wins in 1990-91.
Marsden's selection as ACAC Coach of the Year was the first selection for a men's volleyball coach in program history and the first volleyball coach since Al Qually was selected as ACAC women's Coach of the Year in 1988-89.
"I am extremely grateful for the recognition of our program here at Olds College," Marsden said. "The student athletes have worked so hard to gain the respect of those we compete with. This award solidifies that we are going in the right direction."
"The work that Ryan and his coaching staff have done to lead, mentor and develop the student-athletes of the Broncos men's volleyball program has been tremendous," says Athletics Manager, Trina Radcliffe. "It is fantastic to see Volleyball Canada recognizing Ryan's experience, knowledge and commitment to developing young athletes and we couldn't be more proud of the opportunity he has with the Jr National Team this summer."