By Erin Valois
When it comes to volleyball, Dustin Reid knows the score.
The new volleyball coach is a former member of the Canadian men’s volleyball team, coached an Olympic athlete and led a Swiss junior women’s team to a national title.
Now he’s trying to turn the women’s volleyball squad from a team in transition to champions in the making.
“It’s a great opportunity to start a program from the ground up,” he said.
“The school and athletics department are committed to making this team great.”
Reid said he plans to build a foundation that will make the team a contender.
“Our main goal is to consistently play error-free volleyball and create a culture of professionalism and hard work,” he said.
Reid played one year of volleyball at the University of Toronto before he joined Canada’s national team for seven years.
He ended his career with Team Canada in 2001 and moved to Switzerland, where he eventually started coaching.
Before Reid applied for the job at Ryerson, he was asked by Ivan Joseph, the director of athletics, to join the search committee for the new coach.
But Reid turned Joseph down because he was interested in applying. “[Reid] said he might be interested in applying and I said, ‘that’s really why I called you, I want to know what it would take to get you to apply,’” Joseph said.
“For him to choose us when there are a lot of people who will take him means that we are going in the right direction.”
In September, Ryerson received a $60,000 grant from the Coaches Association of Ontario to hire for the full-time position.
And former part-time volleyball coach Bob Cholette was out of a job when Reid was selected after a month-long hiring process on Nov. 10.
Joseph said it was difficult to make the coaching swap halfway through the year.
“It was a tenuous situation, you never like to make changes mid-season so it’s never fun,” he said.
“It creates uncertainty for the players. I don’t know if it will necessarily translate into wins but I hope they have a better overall experience.”
Joseph said the hiring committee decided not to choose Cholette because there were other candidates that were better for the full-time role.
Cholette wasn’t fired because he remains under contract with Sports and Recreation and Joseph said there is still a place for him — if he wants to continue.
“It’s not easy for him. I was thinking he had as good a chance as anyone but you can’t promise him the position and then all of a sudden someone really good comes out of the woodwork — you can’t ignore them,” he said.
“He may say he doesn’t want to do anything else and we’ll negotiate with him.”
Co-captain Lindsay Franco said the first-year players won’t be troubled by the coaching change, but the veteran players might find it more challenging to adapt to Reid.
“The first-years didn’t have much influence from Bob. But the older players, like me, have a lot of bad habits from before,” she said. “We really want to do what it takes to get better and we’re really open to change.”
Franco said she is excited to work with Reid because he has a positive attitude and works well with the team.
“He never says anything negative,” she said.
“He tells you what you need to work on and he has great credentials.”