WolfPack alum have found success playing professionally and coaching their sports
Whether they’ve been hired by professional teams, have a shot at the Olympics or have stayed in Kamloops to coach their sports, there’s one thing they all have in common: they started out as WolfPack players.
Gord Perrin played men’s volleyball with the ‘Pack and had a taste of national success when the team won bronze at the national championships in 2008. Two years later, after leaving his period of eligibility, Perrin played as a left side hitter on Volleyball Canada’s senior men’s national team.
Now, Perrin plays for Arkas Izmir, a professional volleyball team based in Izmir, Turkey.
“We compete in European competitions called Champions League, which is composed of the top two or three clubs from every country throughout Europe,” Perrin said.
Perrin will have the summer off from Arkas Izmir and will once again play for Volleyball Canada on the senior men’s team. The squad will play in the FIVB World Volleyball League and in the Pan American Games. Perrin and his team will also have a few chances to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Perrin is grateful for the way the WolfPack shaped his career.
“Pat Hennelly put a lot of faith in me as a young player, which gave me a bit of a confidence boost and I was able to excel into what I am today,” Perrin said.
Another ‘Pack player who found success playing professionally in Europe is Jen Ju, who spent four years at TRU as a point guard on the women’s basketball team. Ju was a strong basketball player from the very beginning. In her first year with the team, her average points-per-game was 14.5. She credits head coach Scott Reeves with some of her success.
“Scott’s program really taught me to have faith in myself, to be patient with myself and others, as well as the game itself. I’m also more resilient to life’s curve balls because of my time at TRU,” she said.
Ju finished her eligibility in 2013 and signed a contract with Rhein-Main Baskets, a professional team in Germany.
“Canadian basketball is very different than European basketball. Some of the major coaching philosophies and concepts I’ve been taught are not valued here, though that’s not to say either is right or wrong, merely different,” Ju said. “It’s always going to be difficult to adjust in a foreign country. However, I’m learning and I am enjoying myself and much of the European culture.”
While Perrin and Ju moved to Europe to pursue their sports, other ‘Pack players stayed closer to home and made the switch from playing to coaching.
Kevin Pribilsky transferred to TRU in 2010 and became a point guard on the struggling men’s basketball team.
“My first year here we were 4 and 20 and then we just improved each year. I take a little pride in that,” Pribilsky said.
Pribilsky finished his eligibility with the ‘Pack but wasn’t ready to leave, especially since his brother, Reese Pribilsky, and best friend, Tallon Milne, had committed to play with the ‘Pack. Pribilsky became an assistant coach for the team and helped coach them to their first-ever playoff win this season.
“It still kind of eats at me a little bit that we never did make the playoffs when I was a player. So to stick around and see that goal fulfilled was one thing that I wanted to be a part of,” Pribilsky said.
Pribilsky will graduate this April with his second degree: a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He will be seeking a job in human resources and plans to keep coaching the ‘Pack if he stays in the area.
For the last three summers Kok has played for The Bellingham Slam, a semi-professional basketball team in Washington. The team placed first in the International Basketball League each year Kok played.
Today Kok teaches math at a middle school in Burlington, Washington and is an assistant coach for the high school basketball team. He hopes to be a head coach one day.
“When I got there, TRU was kind of struggling a bit and now they’re enjoying having a lot of success. I’m really excited for the fifth years especially, because I played with those guys,” Kok said.