The University of Manitoba Bisons are hosting next week’s national championship in men’s volleyball, but it’ll also be a going away party for longtime coach Garth Pischke.
Pischke, 64, is retiring after an incredible 38 seasons as bench boss of the Bisons men’s volleyball team.
“It’s been getting close for a few years,” Pischke said.
“Really, the fact we had the opportunity to host the national championships at the University of Manitoba is really kinda the way to go out, I think.”
With over 1,300 career victories, Pischke is the winningest volleyball coach in North America.
Pischke was just as successful at coaching as he was as a player. He represented Canada at two different Olympic games in 1976 and 1984 along with being hired by the Bisons in 1979.
Winnipeg’s Scott Koskie played for Pischke for a decade. Pischke coached Koskie for six seasons with the Bisons, and another four years with the national team.
And Koskie believes it was Pischke’s drive to be the best that made him the coach that he is.
“He was one of the best players in North America and in the world at that time,” Koskie said. “He just brought that expectation every day into the gym.
“He wanted us to do the same thing. Not for him, but for us. He had done all those things and he took such pride, I think, in seeing us make strides, and win matches, and develop confidence, and grow as athletes and as people.”
Pischke led the Herd to nine national titles, including back-to-back championships three different times.
“I’m ready for it, too,” he said. “It’s been a long time —1,800 matches or whatever it is, and who knows how many practices. That’s a lot of time in a gymnasium.
“I love it. I still love it to this day, but it’s time for me to move on and get somebody else in here.”
Pischke is already a member of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame, the Canadian Volleyball Hall of Fame and the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association Hall of Fame.
His final match as head coach will come next week with the U Sports championship in men’s volleyball running from March 13-15 at the Investors Group Athletic Centre.
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