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Coaching carousel spins at Capilano

THE Capilano University athletic department may need to stock up on a new coaching tool to start the 2012-13 season: nametags.

THE Capilano University athletic department may need to stock up on a new coaching tool to start the 2012-13 season: nametags.

All four of the school's basketball and volleyball head coaches have moved on for a variety of reasons following the 2011-12 season, leaving some big clipboards to fill for the Blues brain trust over the off-season. Included on the list are Wayne Desjardins and Paul Chiarenza, two longtime Blues women's coaches who each are leaving after more than a decade's worth of sporting success (see story at left).

Desjardins, a retired high school teacher, says he "doesn't want to use the Rword" for this particular move even though this looks and feels a lot like retirement.

"I'm just not coming back," he said with a laugh. "I don't want to go to 'Wayne Desjardins: retired' on my business card. I'm not ready for that yet. Maybe I'll become a consultant. I like the tone of that - no responsibility."

Chiarenza, meanwhile, is leaving the program due to a conflict with his day job at Southridge School in South Surrey. "I didn't want to leave, I would have loved to have stayed at Cap for as long as I could," he said. "I've been going back from North Van to Surrey every day and I think that both employers weren't interested in getting the watered down version of me."

Men's basketball coach Jordan Yu, a young alumni who impressed in his two seasons at Capilano, is also on the move but for a much different reason: he's been offered a pro contract in Hong Kong to play basketball alongside his brother Nathan who just finished up a five-year career with the UBC Thunderbirds. It was an opportunity that Jordan just couldn't refuse, said Capilano athletics and recreation manager Joe Iacobellis. "(And) we can't match the kind of money he's making either," he said.

The fourth position is men's volleyball, a spot that has been very difficult to fill since James Sneddon left after the 2007-08 season. There's been a new head coach every year since then. This year Paul Tudor acted as interim head coach, the second time he's filled that role. Iacobellis said they're looking for a North Shore-based coach who can lead the Blues while also acting as the head of a new volleyball centre of excellence that Capilano is creating in partnership with Volleyball Canada.

"We are looking for somebody who wants to make that huge commitment to be essentially a fulltime coach," said Iacobellis.

Capilano fields six major teams - men's and women's volleyball, basketball, and soccer - and with four of those teams losing their coaches within the space of a month or so you could be mistaken in thinking it was some sort of revolt. It's not - it was coincidence all the moves happened at the same time, said Iacobellis - but for the coaches who are on the way out, the timing of it all does bring out some chuckles.

"I guess I must have started an epidemic," said Desjardins, who became the first domino to fall when he told Iacobellis back in January that he was packing it in after the season finished.

"It's quite a fire sale all of a sudden," said Chiarenza with a laugh. "It's funny because we've joked about a revolt in the past - totally joking obviously - and then it all just kind of happened. I think Jordan was the one that surprised us the most. He got an unbelievable opportunity that he pretty much had to take. I don't think it was really in his plans."

The athletic department is now in various stages of searching, interviewing and offering for the four positions and they hope to have them all filled within the next month or so. The Sportsplex will have a lot of new faces come September but that's not necessarily a bad thing, said Iacobellis.

"It's all in how you see it," he said. "I'm going to look at it in a positive light - it's a change of the guard, it's a refreshing of the program shall we say. It's always an adventure, right?"

The changes will allow Capilano to chart a new course for their athletic programs, said Iacobellis.

"What we're really shifting towards is trying to get somebody that has roots in our community, with North Shore roots. That's really important to us - somebody that has a strong network within the North Shore, that has a strong recruiting base on the North Shore and also has a vested interest in developing the sport on the North Shore. That's the type of person we're looking for."

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