After over four decades of volleyball experience, Garth Pischke recently hung up his clipboard, bringing an end to one of the most impressive coaching careers in U SPORTS history.
Starting out as a player, Pischke is widely known in the sport as one of the best Canadian male volleyball players of all time. Playing for the University of Manitoba and University of Winnipeg, he won three national championships. He then moved on to play professionally in the International Volleyball Association with El Paso and Denver, winning Rookie of the Year and MVP.
With the men’s national team, the Winnipeg native worked his way up through the youth and junior teams, and was named to the 1976 Olympic men’s team when still in Grade 12. He appeared at in the Olympics again in 1984, becoming the first Canadian double Olympian in volleyball.
As a coach with the University of Manitoba, Pischke continued his tremendous career for 38 more years before retiring in 2020, leading the team to 28 nationals appearances, nine gold medals, nine silvers, five bronze medals, two fourth-place, and two fifth-place finishes. He also coached the men’s national team from 1996 to 2000, helping the team rise from their 21st-place world ranking to 10th.
He’s been inducted into both the Canadian Olympic Association Hall of Fame, the Volleyball Canada Hall of Fame, was named Manitoba’s Athlete of the Century,
Volleyball Canada recently had a chance to talk with Pischke about his coaching career and some thoughts on coaching in the sport.