» New Coaching Role Will Raise Level of Edmonton Athletics
EDMONTON - Edmonton’s track and field makeover shows no signs of slowing down.
On the eve of a star-studded Donovan Bailey Invitational, which goes Saturday afternoon at Foote Field, Friday also marks the application deadline for the new role of athletics institute coach in the city.
The position, which is a collaboration between the Canadian Sport Center Calgary, Athletics Alberta, the Canadian Athletics Coaching Center based out of Foote Field and Athletics Canada is just the latest part of the sports revamping in the city.
With the University of Alberta announcing just over a month ago the restructuring of its track program, which saw Wes Moerman take over the Bears and Pandas, the new position is another key component in a commitment to fostering high performance track and field in the City of Champions.
“Everybody wants the same thing in the end. To have more full-time coaches is a good thing,” Athletics Canada’s CEO Rob Guy said. “Through organizations like Own the Podium, Athletics Alberta and Jim Denison over at the Coaching Centre, it just came to be.”
“The role we played was that they wanted to base this position in Edmonton, so we said, ‘We’re the logical place for you to base this, so we want to be a partner in this exciting initiative to bring another high performance coach to Alberta and more specifically to Edmonton,’ ” Denison, associate professor at the U of A and director of the CACC, said.
While the new coach will largely be reporting to senior national program coach Les Gramantik, who’s based out of the CSC in Calgary, Denison will also be working closely to evaluate the new coach.
“We want to try and build a collaborative, cohesive, positive coaching and athlete development model,” Denison, who will be a part of the shortlisting committee, explained. “It was important for me to say, ‘We welcome this person to Edmonton to be part of what we’re trying to do here,’ but I need to be able to have some authority to evaluate this person in terms of how well they’re collaborating with everything else we’re doing.”
Denison and the U of A’s commitment to reinvigorating and integrating the resources of the city’s track community more effectively through Moerman’s leadership, played a significant role in the position’s creation.
“I think that Athletics Canada and Own the Podium wouldn’t have had as much confidence investing in Edmonton unless they saw that we’re doing everything we can to line everything up and make the synergies and collaborations and efficiencies as effective as possible,” Dension said. “We really want to have clear collaboration and communication across the different strands of the athlete’s development cycle.
“This person will be in a great position to coach athletes while simultaneously contributing to the varsity program.”
While the new position, which will be funded by the CACC, provincial government and Athletics Canada through Own the Podium, is sure to impact the U of A’s track and field program with athletes training with the new coach, all track and field athletes in the city will benefit.
“Who the athletes in this individual’s particular group might be, is still up for grabs,” Denison explained. “They don’t necessarily have to be a university student. Maybe they’re going to NAIT. Maybe they’re living at home and are identified in that age group by Athletics Canada as an up-and-coming athlete.
“In that sense, they’re not competing for the university, but they’re still part of this university program because they’re using our facilities and they’re there when all the other athletes are there. They provide an example of someone who is committed to excellence and we want those sort of examples around.”
With three to four candidates expected to be shortlisted next week, the position — which is the first of its kind in Canada — is very much in its infancy, but has already laid the foundation for similar jobs elsewhere.
“We are certainly looking at this model and knowing it has to be a win-win. It needed to work for Athletics Alberta. It obviously needed to work for Athletics Canada and for the Edmonton area,” Guy said. “By taking a look at this template we’re now in discussions in Ontario to possibly create a similar position in that province using a comparable model.”