New men’s volleyball head coach
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
Last year the men’s volleyball team was in the spotlight. A dominant force on the court, the men had the chance to prove their worth as they hosted the CCAA men’s volleyball championships. Despite not winning the tournament, the team finished fourth in the country, which was an accomplishment in and of itself. With the tournament in the past, and the season over, long-time head coach Brad Hudson announced that he had coached his last game at Douglas College, and would be moving on to new opportunities. And with that, the end of an era had arrived.
However, the end is also the beginning. For the 2016-17 season, that beginning is for Jay Tremonti, the new head coach of the men’s volleyball team. For Tremonti, this will be the first venture into college-level coaching. But age is no indicator of experience here. Tremonti has an impressive résumé, boasting a near lifetime of volleyball experience. Tremonti is an alumnus of the University of Toronto’s volleyball program where he played five years, and in just three years since graduating, Jay has accrued a plethora of notable positions and achievements.
Since moving to the Fraser Valley three years ago, Jay has found his way into the heart of the BC Volleyball program. He holds the position of Fraser Valley Regional Program Manager, and he is also coaching with both the U16 Seaside club, which had a golden run this year, and Delta Secondary School. It’s a lot for one person to do, and with his appointment as the Royals’ head coach, he’s going to have to make a time commitment decision soon. However, Tremonti feels that everything is just starting to fall into place. “The past couple of years, I’ve been working with youth in the Valley. When the opportunity to coach at Douglas arose, it was an opportunity for progression and an opportunity to challenge myself at a post-secondary level.”
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Jay says his job has been made easier by the warm welcome he received from the entirety of the athletics department. He steps into some huge shoes, and he is very aware of it, but he believes the past is more beneficial to him than it is daunting. “Brad’s built the program to what it is now, which is a perennial provincial contender and one of the best teams in the country. There’s a huge foundation that’s set, and that’s great, but I’m not really looking towards the past. Sure, we’re going to learn from the past, but I’m building towards the future, and I think we’re just going to keep getting better every single day.”
His job will be made indefinitely easier by the depth that was on last year’s team. “We got some younger guys from last year that are going to come in and play some key roles for the team, and we’re going to look to them a lot. Guys like Justin Faester; he got to learn from and play behind some of the great players last year.” Faester was one of the few rookies on last year’s squad. His skillful play captured him a spot on the PACWEST All-Rookies team, alongside teammate Jordan Loewan.
Faester had this to say about the upcoming season, and his new bench boss: “I am looking forward to returning to Douglas for the upcoming season. We have many great new recruits and returning players and Jay is a great, fresh coach that has plenty of experience from the playing the game at a CIS level. Jay is an extremely motivated individual and we, as a team, are excited to have him as our coach.”
The team coming up this year will be young with many of the veterans from last year moving on to CIS programs, but Tremonti isn’t intimidated by that. In fact, he says he knows exactly where to look. “A part of my job is to know pretty much every volleyball player in BC. With my past work experience in the Valley, and my coaching experience from the Valley, I think it’s natural that I’ll be looking for a lot of talent for Douglas from there.” While local talent is always a crowd favourite, Jay also has roots elsewhere that he could turn to. Born in Ontario, and having spent much of his volleyball playing career there, it would not surprise me to see a few players hailing from the east taking Douglas College into serious consideration.
As is regular for any coach, Tremonti already has goals in mind for the team. But with a higher than regular turnover rate heading into his debut season, Tremonti believes the key to this season is patience and growth. “This year is going to be all about growth. We have a lot of guys looking to grow as individuals, both on the court and off the court. We’re going be coming into practice every day and working hard to grow, and that’s going to lead to us being a very scary team later on in the season. Obviously the end goal is always a championship win, but we’re going to be more focused on growing every day, and letting the rest fall into place.
“I’m here to build a sustainable quality program that students from BC and beyond can come to and grow from.” This mentality comes from Jay’s passion and desire to make a difference in young athletes’ lives, as his experience did for him. It’s the reason he went into coaching to begin with. “For me, the progression to coaching felt natural. I found my athletic experience to be the most rewarding and fulfilling time of my life, so I wanted to have a hand in creating that experience for other student athletes. The atmosphere here at Douglas is perfect for that.”
Although the season is a little while away, Tremonti already knows how his team will look on the court. “The first word that will come to mind when you watch the Royals this year will be ‘fearless. We are not going to back down from any challenge, and we’re going to take the bull by the horns. We’ve got a young, passionate group of guys that will be coming in everyday and working hard. That’s going to be fun to watch, and exciting as well. When you’ve got that combination of passion and excitement, it’s a recipe for some great things to come.”