Lee Carter’s year just keeps getting better.
The head coach of the Brandon University Bobcats women’s volleyball team guided his squad to its best-ever finish in the Canada West conference, was named the best coach in the conference and the nation, and this summer he will join the coaching staff of Canada’s top women’s national volleyball team.
Carter has a lot of experience with Canada’s B team, as he was head coach during years when the team only trained and was an assistant for the squad that finished 11th at the 2011 World University Games. This, however, will be his first time working with the country’s A team, and he can’t wait for the experience.
"I think it’s a really exciting time," he said.
Like everyone else, Carter applied for the job but felt his experience with Volleyball Canada helped him land the opportunity. He will join the Canadian team, which features Brandon’s Lisa Barclay and Dauphin’s Tabi Love, on May 22 to help the squad prepare for the Pan American Cup, which will be held in Mexico in June.
He will fill in for the team’s regular assistant coach Scott Koskie, who will miss the month to be the head coach of Canada’s B team.
As excited as Carter is to work with Canadian head coach Arnd (Lupo) Ludwig, he also views his month with the national team as a chance to improve his coaching abilities.
"Every time you get to work at the next level up, you get to bring something back," he said. "We’ve earmarked some of our defensive transition stuff and different systems that we’d like to implement and we get to see how Cuba does it, how the Dominican (Republic) does it, how the USA does it. You get a chance to see how the national team game plans.
"There’s obviously a huge professional development growth for me there and just a super chance to say I sat on the bench and represented Canada with the national team."
Carter’s stint with the national team comes to an end on June 22 after the Pan Am Cup. Koskie will then return to the bench to help Canada prepare for the FIVB World Grand Prix — the premier tournament for national teams which Canada has not played in since 2003 — and the world championship, should Canada qualify for it from their tournament in May.
As for Carter, he’ll return to Brandon and begin preparations for the next Canada West season, in which he hopes to finally get the Bobcats over the hump and past the first round of the playoffs.
"It’s been a fun year," he said. "I’m proud of everything that’s gone on and I’m extremely proud of everything that’s gone on with our team, but I’d trade it all in for more team success. BU is my priority and it’s where my heart and soul is. Helping this team start from the beginning and to where we’ve gone is amazing.
"I can’t wait for next year to start. I hope this is just the beginning and not the cap."