At the end of the day, it was time for a change
Adam Williams, Sports Editor Ω
TRU Athletics parted ways with women’s volleyball head coach Keith Lundgren on Jan. 14, citing a need to go in a different direction.
With the WolfPack 0-14 this season under Lundgren, and 0-22 last season, it seemed it wasn’t a matter of if the WolfPack would part ways with Lundgren, but when.
“I made a decision to talk to Keith about going in a different direction at this time,” said athletic director Ken Olynyk. Olynyk said Chad Grimm, who has been an assistant coach with the men’s volleyball team for seven seasons, would take over the coaching duties on an interim basis. Olynyk hopes to have a permanent replacement by the end of March.
Neither Lundgren nor Grimm could not be reached for comment.
The WolfPack women made the playoffs once under Lundgren’s leadership, going 9-11 in the 2011-12 season before falling in back-to-back matches to the University of Alberta Pandas in post-season play. In 76 regular season and playoff matches with Lundgren at the team’s helm, the WolfPack won just 11 matches. Prior to this weekend’s action under Grimm, they had not won a set since Feb. 2, 2013, a match in which they lost 3-1 to the Mount Royal Cougars.
The women lost both matches to the Winnipeg Wesmen this weekend, but they managed a set victory in their first match with Grimm at the helm.
The WolfPack will play eight more games this season and Grimm will be tasked with trying to put a positive spin on a team that isn’t brimming with positivity at the moment.
“I would definitely say the girls were very down,” WolfPack middle Morgan Kolasa told Kamloops This Week. “There’s been talk of girls not coming back throughout the season. It’s been really negative. Whether or not it was coaching’s fault, something had to change because these last two years have been really tough on everyone in the program.”
Olynyk said he didn’t know if Grimm would have interest in staying with the WolfPack long-term. He’s a teacher locally and is also completing his master’s degree in counselling.
But Pat Hennelly, head coach of the WolfPack men’s basketball team, said he thinks that by taking the interim position, Grimm has declared his interest in the permanent position.
“I think the statement is being made by the fact that he’s accepted it and wants to help out the program as an overall piece as much as anything,” Hennelly said. He also said that with Grimm studying counselling, he’s been someone the WolfPack men have been able to talk to, another person to act as a sounding board.
“I think Chad is going to help sort of stabilize things there,” Hennelly said.
Grimm has connections both provincially as well as overseas, a network that would serve him well if he were recruiting for the women. He’s responsible for bringing Dane Philip Ozari to the men’s team and is well respected in Europe from his time as a coach and professional player in both Belgium and Denmark.
But right now, the focus is on the present, and with the WolfPack winning its first set in almost a year in their first game under Grimm, the future for the squad might look a little brighter.