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Providence Athletics reshuffles Pilots coaching deck
For the first time in 13 years the Providence men’s volleyball team is undergoing a coaching change.
Jason Peters, who took over the squad in 2003 and initially planned to stay just one or two seasons, will leave the program at the end of the current campaign and turn the reins over to Scott Masterson, who, himself, will be leaving the women’s volleyball team to long-time assistant Kyle Guenther.
The changeover is effective immediately—particularly in terms of recruitment and other planning—although the present, on-court coaching structure will remain in place until the conclusion of next month’s Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference play-offs, which Providence will host on February 27 and 28.
Both the men’s and women’s teams are well-positioned for provincial contention, and another pair of titles would only add to the success they’ve enjoyed in recent times.
Peters, who played with Masterson on the championship-winning Freemen teams of 2000 and 2001, cites two National Collegiate Volleyball Federation (United States) finals and four conference championships as particular highlights, although, he says, “I have many, many fond memories.”
He adds: “It has been an amazing run and I will miss it when it’s over. I take great joy in having worked with so many great young men and have enjoyed seeing them grow into husbands, fathers, and leaders in our communities.”
Masterson, for his part, leaves the women’s set-up after six, fruitful years that culminated in a National Christian College Athletic Association (United States) final last November in Kissimmee, Florida.
“That was the best the team finished in my time as coach and their second-best all-time, after winning the National Championship in 2002,” he says. “This season we have played some of the best volleyball I have ever seen one of my teams play, and it has been fun to be part of.”
Masterson, who is also Director of Athletics at Providence, won the prestigious NCCAA National Coach of the Year award in December to go along with a trio of NCCAA Regional Coach of the Year honours and MCAC Coach of the Year recognition for 2012-13.
He’ll be looking to translate that success to the men’s game, which, he says, will require him to “re-learn” the intricacies that differ from the women’s game.
“I’m definitely excited about the challenge of coaching the men’s team,” he says, adding that he’ll begin the recruitment process as quickly as possible given the transitioning of some current players.
He’ll also look back affectionately on his time coaching the Pilots women, and he admits it’s tough knowing that he’ll be leaving the program so soon.
“Looking back, I will always be thankful for the relationships that were forged and for the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of the players who have played for me,” he says.
But in Guenther, says Masterson, the team is being committed to capable hands.
“[Guenther] has proven himself over the last number of years,” he points out. “He has definitely earned this opportunity and I am happy that he was both willing and excited to accept this new challenge.”
Guenther, too, cites November’s NCCAA National Championship as his coaching highlight to date.
“The team came together and we played some amazing volleyball to reach the final—and we were able to compete with the top-ranked team in the country,” he says.
Having worked alongside Masterson for each of the latter’s six years with the women’s program, Guenther credits the outgoing head coach for making an investment in his own career.
“I have been incredibly fortunate to have coached with [Masterson] and to have learned a lot about how to build and maintain a successful program,” he says. “It’s exciting for me to take on the task of trying to better our program and continue having success at many levels.”
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