OLDS — Olds College Broncos men’s volleyball head coach Ryan Marsden has been named head coach of Volleyball Canada’s junior men’s team for this summer.
Tryouts are tentatively scheduled to take place in Gatineau, Que. from April 30-May 3, although it was unclear if they would go ahead in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marsden was previously named Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) men’s volleyball Coach of the Year during the 2020 ACAC men’s volleyball championships late last month.
He was also named to Volleyball Canada's men’s team coaching staff for the 2019 international season.
In 2019, Marsden was named head coach of the senior B men’s team after initially being chosen as the team’s assistant coach.
Marsden also previously coached with Volleyball Canada on the men’s national B team in 2007, and was head coach at the Volleyball Canada Centre of Excellence in Calgary.
This year, Marsden will receive help from assistant coaches Ian Eibbitt who is on the coaching staff at McMaster University and Gabriel deGroot of the Queen’s University volleyball program.
“I am honoured 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.”
Assuming the schedule holds, the team is slated to participate in two official competitions.
The first -- NORCECA U21 Continental Championships -- is set for May 13-20 in Edmonton.
The second -- U21 Pan-Am Cup -- is scheduled to take place in Colorado Springs, Colo. from Aug. 31-Sept. 9.
“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 said.
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 of the SAIT Trojans men's team from 2007 to 2012.
During that time, he led the team to an ACAC championship in 2010 and a silver medal during the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) nationals, also in 2010.
Prior to that, he coached at Mount Royal University, the 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 Nov. 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, 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 such selection for a men's volleyball coach in program history and the first for a 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,” Olds College athletics manager Trina Radcliffe said.
"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 junior national team this summer."
- Information for this story was provided by Olds College athletics manager Trina Radcliffe and Jadon Frank, an athletics game day events and promotions programmer with Olds College Broncos Athletics.