ACAC Class of 2017: Red Deer College Kings Volleyball (1999-2007)

Photo of some of the Red Deer Kings student/athletes from the 1999-2007 championship run attending the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame
Photo of some of the Red Deer Kings student/athletes from the 1999-2007 championship run attending the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips

In celebration of its 50th season of competition, the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) held its inaugural ACAC Hall of Fame selection and ceremony in 2014 with induction of 50 individuals within the categories of builders and administrators, coaches and student-athletes.

In this the second installment, a total of eight inductees will be named with a Class of 2017 ceremony scheduled for May 13, 2017 in Calgary, Alberta.

Below is the final of eight inductee profiles

Team Category

Red Deer College Kings Volleyball (1999-2007)

The word dynasty is befitting of the Red Deer Kings men's volleyball team as from 1999-2007 they captured eight consecutive Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) men's volleyball titles.

This is the longest run in CCAA sports history, which features men's and women's competition in badminton, basketball, cross country, curling, golf, soccer and volleyball.

The next closest is the six consecutive CCAA banners, also in men's volleyball, for the College Limoilou Titans from 1984-1989.

During the Kings championship run, their record in ACAC regular season action was 89-9 and 24-0 in ACAC playoffs winning eight ACAC titles in a row. Counting in their CCAA appearances, their overall performance was an incredible 137-9.

The Kings were coached by Keith Hansen for seven championship seasons and by Richard Schick during 2000-01.

"You are never going to win a championship, let alone eight in a row, without different factors coming into play," said Hansen. "There is no one thing to be that successful.

"You have to prepare well.  Have great athletes.  Great players who are committed. I think those were the key things."

Asked if he ever thought the championship streak would end, Hansen replied: "As you go through, you were focused on one year at a time. You did not think about it. Everything was not that rosy though. There was the ups-and-downs, the soul searching and the hard work. 

"But when you do look back at it, it was quite amazing."

According to their nomination: "Notable accomplishments include the 2002-03 team's impressive season, winning all their matches against college competition and claiming victories against NCAA Division 1 and CIS bronze medalist teams. The 2005-06 team had the most memorable CCAA championship victory, winning against hometown host, Limoilou Titans, who shared the Kings' record of six consecutive CCAA championships.

Five former Kings played full-time with the Canadian Men's Volleyball Team, one represents Canada in Men's Beach Volleyball and five players joined the National B or Universiade teams.

The strength of these eight-in-a-row teams was created by the traditions, expectations and behaviours established by coaches and passed on by players. Hansen notes the players held each other responsible, with veterans introducing new teammates to the program and modeling what it meant to be a Kings volleyball player."

The same 1999-2007 contingent was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2016 last June.

"The RDC Athletics program has such a strong heritage of excellence, and this honour recognizes everyone who was involved with these exceptional Kings volleyball teams," said Diane St-Denis, RDC Athletic Director at that time. "Our student-athletes learn and grow in so many ways during their time at RDC, and the players from these teams represent the pinnacle of how athletes can work together to achieve excellence."