Throughout the 2017-18 season, U SPORTS sits down with one key athlete, coach, and staff member of each U SPORTS athletic program in our new interview series “Getting to know…”
- Name: Russ Paddock
- School: Brandon University
- Position: Director of Athletics and Community Engagement
- Seniority: 13 years
- Previous job/position: Head coach, Brandon University men’s volleyball
- Hometown: Oak River, Man.
1. How did you get to your current position, and what do you enjoy most about our job?
After playing volleyball at the University of Manitoba, with the national team and professionally in Europe for a number of years I had settled into a high school physical education teaching position in Winnipeg, when the opportunity arose to start the volleyball program at Brandon University in 2005. I coached the team until 2012, when I transitioned into the athletic director position at that time. I enjoy supporting the teams and creating opportunities for the student athletes and coaches to be competitive with the best in the country.
2. Who has had the most influence on your career?
My family has played a large role in my career. My parents always encouraged participation in sport. I followed my oldest sister (I have three more) to the U of M to be a physical education teacher like her. There, I was motivated to pursue high-level sport, as my two older brothers both played professional hockey.
3. What is your greatest sporting moment or achievement?
I would say there are three from the various stages of my career. As an athlete, participating in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona was definitely a highlight. As a coach, winning the bronze medal at the 2009 U SPORTS Men’s Volleyball Championship in just the fourth year of the program’s existence was great, and making the national final against Trinity Western in 2011 would be a close second. We brought home a silver that year in what was our sixth year of volleyball at Brandon University.
In my current role as an administrator, another great highlight was hosting the first national championship at Brandon University, the 2016 U SPORTS Women’s Volleyball Championship. The venue was full throughout the event and was a great way to showcase volleyball and university sport in our community at the national level.
4. How would you define a Brandon University student-athlete?
Someone who works hard to achieve their goals and is a positive ambassador of the program in the classroom, in competition, and in the community.
5. What does success look like for the Brandon University athletics program?
Providing an education to the student-athletes while pursuing athletic excellence and becoming role models to youth in the community.
6. What’s the biggest challenge you face in today’s sports world?
The world of competitive sport continues to evolve very quickly, so remaining current with financial realities is an ongoing challenge.
7. Where would you like to see Canadian university sport in the next three to five years?
I would like to see it be more mainstream in the eyes of the public and media, recognizing that for most sports it is the high level of play in the country.
8. What would you say to a sports fan who’s never watched a U SPORTS game/tournament/competition?
Any sports fan would enjoy the athleticism and passion on display at all U SPORTS competition.
9. What do you enjoy doing when you’re away from work?
I have enjoyed being involved in youth sport activities. I have two kids who I have really enjoyed the opportunity to see them grow through sport and my involvement in that whether it be coaching, volunteering or spectating.