On Saturday, May 13, the Red Deer Kings Volleyball program will receive a prestigious honour when eight of its recent teams, as well as former player, Gavin Schmitt, will be inducted into the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Hall of Fame.
At the induction ceremony, the RDC Kings Volleyball teams from 1999-2000 to 2006-2007 will receive this prestigious accolade under the Team Category. These teams made ACAC and Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) history when they won eight ACAC and eight national championships in a row – the longest run in CCAA history for any sport.
Keith Hansen, who was Head Coach for seven of the eight teams inducted, acknowledges the importance of the award and the honour for the teams to be part of the ACAC Hall of Fame. “The commitment to excellence across all the ACAC institutions created wonderful competition that really did prepare us for national championships,” he says. “I think a lot of our successes had to do with being pushed by other colleges and the great programs they ran. This league is definitely one we can be proud of.”
When he looks back on the RDC teams, Hansen notes they had a commitment to excellence and a strong work ethic that helped to raise the bar for what was possible. During the 2006-07 year, Gavin Schmitt was a pivotal part of the Kings Volleyball team winning their eighth consecutive championship title. Schmitt will be inducted into the ACAC Hall of Fame under the Athlete Category at the upcoming induction ceremony.
During his time at RDC, Schmitt led the Kings in kills and kills per game, and “he hit the last ball to win the national title during our eight-in-a-row run,” Hansen says. Schmitt was recognized with several honours for his exceptional play that season, being named an ACAC All Star and a CCAA All-Canadian, as well as the CCAA National Championship MVP.
From 2007 to 2016, Schmitt played with the Canadian Men’s Volleyball Team and was instrumental in helping to build the program into a top 10 team in the world. He has also spent the past 10 years playing professional volleyball in top leagues, including Korea, Turkey, Russia, Brazil and Poland.
The ACAC Hall of Fame inductions will provide a special time to honour and acknowledge the achievements of past teams and players, and it also motivates current and coming athletes. “We have so much to be proud of with our history, and such an exciting future with our current and upcoming student-athletes,” says Diane St-Denis, RDC Athletic Director. “As our programs grow and evolve, we will continue to instill the values of hard work, commitment and community contributions that will help our student-athletes during their time at RDC and throughout their future lives and careers.”