WINNIPEG — Garth Pischke has done a lot in his storied career as the head coach of the University of Manitoba Bison men’s volleyball program.
The 38-season veteran is preparing to wind down his time at the helm by looking back on some of his accomplishments, including nine national titles. But don’t ask him to single out any one specific moment.
“There are so many memories just getting to this point now. It’s virtually impossible to pick out one, I’d have to pick out 10,” Pischke said Thursday, during a news conference.
“We were in the national final 18 times and won nine championships, but some of our greatest seasons were years that we came in second or third and had no business being there. Just over-achieved in every aspect of our game and had the will to get to the final. Those were some of the greatest years — some of the years we won, it was more like, ‘I’m glad that’s over with it.'”
With a coaching record of 1,345,400 and a winning percentage of 77 percent, it won’t be easy to find the next Garth Pischke, but the coach believes some of the program’s brightest days are ahead of it.
“This is a very sought-after position and we’ve got a great group of young kids here… we’ve got great leadership with our athletic director Gene Muller and (associate director, athletics) Curt Warkentin doing a phenomenal job, so I’m excited about where this program is going to go.”
Pischke, at times, tried to fight back tears as Bison alumni committee chair Bernie Plett highlighted some of his accomplishments to the media and guests in attendance at Lot 88 Steakhouse.
“It’s hard, emotionally, as you can see I’m trying to keep things together. As long as I don’t talk about my family, I’m okay. I just have to stay away from that and think about the good experiences with volleyball and everything that this team has accomplished… and all the great times that we’ve had and all the things we’re seen.”
Before Pischke calls it a career, he will once again lead his team in pursuit of a national title at the 2020 U Sports Men’s Volleyball Championship in Winnipeg, March 13-15.
“I love it. I still love it, to this day, but it’s time for me to move on and to get somebody else in there,” Pischke added.
Tickets to the three-day event, taking place at Investors Group Athletic Centre, are on sale now at GoBisons.ca.