They will be missing their head coaches, but Brandon University Bobcats teams will be in action this weekend, as scheduled.
BU professors went on strike early Wednesday morning for the second time in only four years, with Bobcat head coaches among those walking the picket lines at the university. While the strike is in effect, head coaches Russ Paddock (men’s volleyball), Lee Carter (women’s volleyball), Gil Cheung (men’s basketball) and Ritchie Jacobson (women’s basketball) will not be allowed to run practices or games, leaving their assistants in charge as all four teams prepare in earnest for the start of the Canada West conference regular season later this month.
"It’s a difficult time for sure," said Paddock, who also doubles as Brandon’s athletic director and has turned over practices to his assistants Grant Wilson, Mark Geekie and Warren Birch. "We’re starting to think about the start of the regular season and we want to put a lot of time into preparing our teams and we want to do what’s best for them, so it’s a difficult time for sure …
"Hopefully the assistants can do a good job and hopefully the strike is shorter than longer."
While Paddock’s men’s volleyball squad is idle this weekend, the other three teams will take to the court.
Cheung will turn coaching duties over to his assistant Jeremy Wielenga to run the bench when the Bobcats men’s basketball squad hosts the Lakehead Thunderwolves in a pair of pre-season games on Friday and Saturday night at the BU gym, with tip-off times slated for 7:30 p.m.
Also at BU this weekend, Carter will not be in attendance when his women’s volleyball team faces the University of Regina Cougars in exhibition matches on Saturday (5 p.m.) and Sunday (3 p.m.). Former players Becky Young and Ashley Creighton will guide the Bobcats, along with fellow assistants Kevin Neufeld and Derek Richels.
Meanwhile, Jacobson’s women’s basketball team will be led by assistant coaches Tom Price and Sarah Lopes when it competes in the Canadian Mennonite University tournament in Winnipeg.
BU’s volleyball teams open the regular season in just two weeks, while the basketball squads tip off their season in three weeks.