There won’t be any rest for Grant Wilson this summer.
As a Grade 8 teacher at King George School, the 43-year-old is used to having a July and August off to spend time to relax with his family. That’s not the case this year as Wilson is coaching the Peewee AAA Brandon Knights baseball team and takes over as the Brandon University Bobcats men’s volleyball team head coach on Sunday.
“I was kind of joking with someone the other day that it almost reminds me of when I first started teaching and I ended up getting into coaching provincial teams because I thought I’d have summers off, but the next thing I knew I was basically coaching volleyball full time until the end of August,” said Wilson, who is on a one-year contract as the Bobcats’ head coach while Russ Paddock focuses on his athletic director duties.
“I know the year Russ and I coached the Canada Games team, we got off the plane and had one day before school started. It kind of feels like that again and we’re working full time during the summer. It’s a little bit tough knowing you don’t have time off to head off to the lake or those type of things, but I’m looking forward to the challenge and putting in the time to make it work.”
Wilson has a lot to do at BU this summer. He wants to wrap up the loose ends left from the Bobcats’ recruiting effort, learn about the team’s budgeting and set up travel plans and an exhibition schedule. He also has to prepare to teach some classes in the university’s physical education department.
The Bobcats’ new coach knows he needs to put in a lot of time with the Knights as well, as they are a relatively young and inexperienced team. However, he thinks he’ll be able to balance the two jobs fairly easily.
“For the most part, baseball is evenings and weekends,” he said. “It would be no different than if it was in the school year. We might have the odd morning or afternoon practice or exhibition game, but for the most part, there shouldn’t be much interference there. It will be university day job and baseball night job and we’ll make it work for sure.”
Wilson knows his life would be less stressful if he didn’t coach baseball, but that’s not something he’s willing to give up. Wilson grew up in a baseball family as his father, Bob, played with the Brandon Cloverleafs for over 20 years and was inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knights’ coach also played intermediate baseball — now senior AA — while playing or coaching volleyball during his summers.
Coaching the Knights also gives him a chance to spend more time with his son Reece, who’s on the peewee team. As the Bobcats assistant coach for the last seven seasons, Wilson found that he couldn’t contribute to Reece’s passion for hockey, and he wanted to make it up to him by helping him develop a love for baseball. That want has turned into a whole family experience that Wilson is looking forward to continuing this summer.
“We didn’t really know what to expect in terms of commitment with the baseball, but last year we ended up in quite a few tournaments and we ended up buying a camper for the family just because everyone can come along,” he said. “Our dog can come along and it’s certainly a family affair. (Reece) loves playing ball, he loves camping and it’s made it a pretty enjoyable experience for the whole family.”
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 30, 2012