The RDC athletic program is in rare air.
For the first time in history the RDC Kings are ranked No. 1 in Canada in both men’s basketball and volleyball at the same time.
The volleyball program is familiar with the lofty ranking, after winning a record eight-straight national titles from 2000 to 2007 and a record 10 overall.
However, it’s the first time the basketball Kings have enjoyed the top ranking. The rankings come out each Tuesday.
“It definitely means a lot, but we have a lot of the season remaining and a lot can happen,” said basketball Kings head coach Clayton Pottinger. “I believe this validates all the hard work of the athletic department from (director of athletics) Keith Hansen on down in terms of putting the best product on the court.”
Pottinger knows his players, are “enjoying it and appreciate the recognition” but also understand there’s “so much work ahead.”
“All we have to do is look at Lakeland, who were No. 1 all last season, then lost in our playoffs. Even this year the two teams (from Ontario) ahead of us early on have both lost in the last 10 days. The main thing is to stay focused.”
The Kings, who are 6-0, will have their hands full this week as they face the SAIT Trojans on Thursday in Calgary and Saturday at RDC. Hansen, who coached the volleyball Kings during their 10 championships in a 12-year stretch, likes what he sees from both programs.
“I’m impressed and couldn’t be prouder of both of them,” he said. “Looking at it these are two of the premier sports and both being No. 1 at the same time is something special. It speaks volumes about the quality of our athletic program and the job we’ve done with developing our athletes and the job they’ve done.
“It means a lot in terms of recruiting and coaching and both Aaron (volleyball’s Aaron Schulha) and Clayton have done a wonderful job in terms of doing it right. They do it ethically and in a professional way. They don’t cut corners and they hold the kids to a high position when it comes to being a student athlete, just not an athlete.”
Both coaches lost a good portion of their roster from last year.
Pottinger has only four players returning from the team that finished fourth at the nationals, while Schulha, who has an 8-0 record this year, has a complete new starting six from last year’s squad that was fifth in Canada.
Hansen feels teams on the women’s side could be at the top in the country. The volleyball Queens have the potential to be there and if there were rankings for women’s hockey they would be right there.
“They’re on top of the Alberta standings and while we don’t know about teams from other provinces, they’re certainly a quality program,” he said.