To kick-off this weekend’s final home games of the season and 25th Anniversary celebrations, Camosun presents the stories of five Chargers alum who remain closely connected to the program. While their stories are different, a common theme remains …  “Once a Charger, always a Charger.”

Part one Father-son coaching duo

Father-son coaching duo exemplifies love of the game. Photos courtesy of Camosun Chargers Athletics
Father-son coaching duo exemplifies love of the game. Photos courtesy of Camosun Chargers Athletics

Andy Inglis cannot remember a time when he didn’t play volleyball. Thanks to his father, Gord, Andy was taught to bump, set and spike from the moment he could sit up. This father-son/coach-athlete relationship has continued throughout Andy’s life and came full circle when he joined his father on the Chargers men’s volleyball coaching staff in 2014, following his fifth and final year as a student-athlete.

While Camosun has provided Andy and Gord with the opportunity to work together in a sport-centric environment, their mutual love of the game was fostered back in Alberta, where Gord completed a 14-year run as the head coach of the Red Deer College Kings men’s volleyball program (as well as a stint as the school’s Athletic Director) – and where Andy grew up and played his first three years of post-secondary athletics.

In 2011, Andy transferred to Camosun where he suited up for the Chargers and began his studies in the Bachelor of Sport and Fitness Leadership (BSFL) program. Andy’s father also made the move to Victoria, taking on a faculty position with Camosun’s Centre for Sport and Exercise Education. Gord signed on as an assistant coach for the Chargers in 2012, under Head Coach Charles Parkinson. Along with his coaching, Gord now chairs the BSFL program.

Now that he’s finished his degree, Andy is focused on pursuing a career in teaching. And, as a fifth year  assistant coach for the Chargers program, Andy says he’s fortunate to not only be doing something he loves, but that he’s doing it while working alongside his father.

We met with Andy to talk about how his experience at Camosun has helped him — and where all of this might take him.

Q: What kind of influence did your father have on you as a player and what is it like to be coaching alongside him?

A: It has always been really special to have my dad guide me through my volleyball career and he has always done that for me from a very young age. And then, when I reached the end of my playing career here at Camosun, it was pretty special to have him as an assistant coach. Now, being able to work with him on the other side of the bench is amazing. I always learn something from him and hopefully he learns a little from me. We have a really great way of communicating and it’s made our relationship pretty special. I’m very fortunate to be able to share this experience with him.

Q: What is your role as an AC and how does that differ from what your dad does as an AC?

A: I think we come from different perspectives. I can relate maybe a little bit more to some of the guys because of my more recent experience as a player. On the other hand, my dad has an amazing mind for the game. It’s something I continually try to develop, but being a younger coach, it’s always a process. My dad has been great at helping me in that process. He’s a no nonsense kind of guy and he doesn’t always speak up, but when he says something, everyone listens!

Q: What do you like best about being a part of the Chargers program?

A: I like the sense of family and community. When I first moved here and met Charles for the first time, I had an immediate sense that he was about family and that he wanted to invest in me as a person. That message went out to every single one of my teammates and that is why I love working with him and return every year without hesitation. Charles also gives me a lot of opportunity to plan practices — and every once in a while, I’ll get to head coach a game. Once he gives me the reigns, I feel like he trusts me fully and I really appreciate that.

Q: What kind of impact do you see yourself making on the athletes entering our program?

A: Each athlete’s journey is different, so I try to encourage an environment that allows for the most amount of growth and development, on and off the court for every athlete. Sport has given me some amazing opportunities and has taught me many life skills. It can be a great vehicle for many things, such as pursuing a post-secondary education. As coaches, it is our hope that each of our players are able to enjoy success within the Chargers program. My ultimate goal is to be able to share the love of the game that I have with the next generation of young players.

Q: What do you presently do aside from coaching and what are your aspirations for the future?

A: I graduated with a degree in Sport Management from Camosun and I’m currently in my third year of VIU’s Education program at the Duncan campus. I also work with an adult with special needs, facilitating his day to day, managing his behavior and intervention requirements.

On a normal day, I drive to Duncan, I’m in class for a few hours, I drive back to Victoria, try to get a work out in before practice, go to practice and then work an overnight shift. Most days are pretty busy for me but I like that.

Once I have my degree, I’d like to teach middle school and then maybe high school after a few years. I’m sure coaching will always be a part of my life in one way or another. Taking on the planning and leadership role in my assistant coach position has already helped me immensely in my education program.

I have ambitions to possibly teach overseas, to do some travelling and see the world a little bit. My hometown is in Alberta and I miss that quite a bit, so who knows … whatever door opens for me!

Q: In two weeks time, the Chargers will compete for their fifth consecutive title at the PACWEST Provincial Championships in Cranbrook. If the team is successful, you and your dad will be heading back to your hometown as Red Deer College is set to host the 2019 CCAA National Men’s Volleyball Championship, March 7-9. What will that be like?

A: That would be an amazing experience! My dad and I have a lot of history there. I’m still in touch with all my friends and still have great relationships with my past coaches and teammates. It will be amazing if we get to compete there. We’re doing everything we can to prepare for that.