– TRU Press Release
Kamloops, BC—The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack have gone to someone with a rich history with their athletic and soccer programs when choosing their new women’s soccer coach.
Athletics and Recreation Director Ken Olynyk has announced that after an extensive search, Kamloops native Kelly Shantz will take over operations of the women’s soccer program effective immediately.
Shantz becomes the third head coach of women’s soccer since TRU since the school switched to its current name in 2005 and the second since the WolfPack joined the CIS as he replaces Tom McManus.
“We had a great pool of candidates,” Olynyk said. “We shortlisted to three and felt we were in a ‘win win’ situation. Any of the three candidates we would have brought in were going to be great for us. We felt that Kelly had a long association with the university. He is an alumnus of the university and has given a lot to our institution. He has a passion for coaching at this level. It was the best situation for us overall. He will do a great job and bring the women’s program into a competitive situation in the CIS.”
Shantz’s days with this institution date back to 1979-80 when he was a student/athlete under Pat O’Brien with the Cariboo College Chiefs. He then joined the then Cariboo College (later the University College of the Cariboo and now TRU) Sports Task Force and was responsible for running the Mike Bartram Memorial Golf Tournament for the past 17 years.
As well, Shantz had been an assistant coach starting in 2001-02 part time and then full time for nine years under the direction of Eric Schweizer. He remained with the program for a year after Schweizer retired and McManus came on as head coach.’
Describing himself as a ‘passionate, involved and enthusiastic coach’, Shantz says he has had a number of influences in his life athletically. “I have been a pretty lucky soccer guy in my life. I played under the late Mike Bartram for over 10 years in the Premier men’s with an amazing group of guys coming and going…real leaders. Brian Peters in high school basketball was a big influence in my life looking back. Dave Edamura at Norkam as well. Then, playing with the Riversyde Auto guys later in life. Coaching with my best friend Kevin Fertile through some great youth Rep years and of course, Erik Schweizer and Glen Archer, for after Mike passed away, a fantastic eight years at UCC/TRU. I am thrilled to have the position and look to put TRU Women’s soccer back into the culture and community I remember from so many of my own experiences in this city. It is an honor and a bit of a coaching dream-come true.”
Shantz says working with Schweizer has ‘rubbed off on him’. “Eric is the consummate gentleman. He was very, very competitive and pursued success as much as anybody else. His wonderful record at all levels shows this, but had a calm surface and ready smile at all times. I have brought a lot of those elements into a piece of my style. I know I am at my best when I am more animated so I think I am a blend of many great coaches I have been around.”
Losing six to eight starters from the squad which went to the Canada West playoffs last year will be Shantz’s biggest challenge. “We are also losing more reserves due to education needs. It is a lot to replace all at once but a fantastic opportunity for new players to come into, getting playing time right away and build an era of their own.”
Shantz also feels changing the culture of how the program is run is key. “Playing CIS soccer at a high level is a year round commitment. It ebbs and flows from an intensity standpoint, but you will not be a good player nor will we be a competitive team if we don’t understand that. Our current culture doesn’t have that stamp on it and we need to get there fast.”
On the subject of getting future players? “Maybe I am a bit of an old-school Kamloops guy on this but I want a team that is successful on and off the field and in the classroom. To do that, we need to go beyond our city and find soccer players and university students who will make us better. But that being said, I have a soft spot for local talent and want to be a part of helping local youth players be “TRU-ready’ when they graduate high school. I also look forward to working the ‘fringes’ a bit. Finding that gem of a player and person that is maybe in Salmon Arm or Cranbrook..female soccer and quality training for them is exploding in Canada and I think there are a lot of players out there that no-one is looking at.”
Shantz adds: “TRU has a fantastic women’s soccer pedigree. From Cariboo College to the University College of the Cariboo and now Thompson Rivers University there are hundreds of alumni, coaches, parents and boosters who have made it a special place for girls soccer for 25 years. It’s my goal to invite all these people to help me make it a special place for the Kamloops soccer scene again.”
The WolfPack will open their 2016-17 training camp in early August.
THROW INS: Shantz has run the PCSL Kamloops Heat women’s program for the last few years and plans to continue it. He sees the Heat program and that of the WolfPack working together. “The Kamloops Heat Premier team can be a great place for red-shirts and other TRU players to develop. For starters and veterans to stay sharp and for grads/alumni to join in and play and be leaders.”