Hansen returns to RDC

Keith Hansen couldn’t have asked to be treated any better during his time in Dueren, Germany.

Keith Hansen couldn’t have asked to be treated any better during his time in Dueren, Germany.

The RDC Athletic Director spent the last year in the European city, working on a sports psychology degree and with the men’s volleyball team that competes in the German National League.

“They did a wonderful job of hosting myself and my family,” he said. “One fan gave us his fully furnished house he was trying to sell about eight-kilometres outside of the city and it was perfect. It was a smaller community of about 1,200 and the my two oldest (six-year-old Avery and four-year-old Sophie) attended kindergarten every morning which couldn’t be better in language development and meeting other kids.”

Hansen’s wife, Julie, and two-year-old Olivia rounded out the family.

Hansen took a sabbatical from RDC to do practicum work in sports psychology. He also took three on-line classes from the Yorkville University, working towards a masters of counselling degree and at the same time was an assistant coach and performance consultant with the Dueren Volleyball Club.

“I also worked as a coaching mentor as their head coach played a long time and knew the game, but didn’t have a lot of experience in the science behind coaching. He (Sven Anton) was only in his second year and the first year was a bit bumpy.”

Hansen was a perfect fit to assist Anton as he was familiar with the program, having worked as head coach of the team during the 2000-01 season.

That was a dream year for the program.

“That year the club’s budget was about ninth in the 12-team league and we reached the German Cup final and finished third or fourth in the league. They had never done that well before.”

So with Hansen’s return this year there were high exceptions, even though he was an assistant coach and the team was coming off a so-so year.

“A lot of people remembered when I was there and they expected a big shift this year, which was a bit unrealistic,” he said.

But there was still a bit of magic as once again the team reached the German Cup final, losing 3-2, and finished third in the league.

“It was a good year,” he said. “The two teams that finished ahead of us in the league were made up of German national team starters, or starters from other national teams. We had two players from the national team, but overall not as experienced. As well our starting setter injured his knee just before the semifinal.”

Former RDC King Tim Gourlay joined the Dueren team at Christmas last year while setter Brock Davidiuk was also in the league.

Three other former Kings — Dallas Soonias, Mark Dodds and Nicolas Cundy — are also playing in Europe. Soonias is in Spain, Dodds in Belgium and Cundy in Portugal.

A sixth member of the RDC alumni — Gavin Schmitt — was the MVP of the Korean League this season.

Dueren is a city about the size of Red Deer with the volleyball team the No. 1 sports program. They play in a facility of about 3,000, drawing an average of 2,000 per match.

“It’s the biggest thing in the city, like the Rebels here,” said Hansen. “People live and die by the team. You lose and they’re glaring at you. You win and they’d give you their first born. It’s a great atmosphere.”

Hansen could well make a career of coaching in Dueren as three times he’s been offered the head coaching position over the last decade.

“It was a lot of fun working with a team at that level, but I love RDC and I wouldn’t want to be a full time pro coach,” he stressed. “Our family is from here and it’s better for us here.”

Hansen, who is the winningest coach in the Canadian College Athletic Association history, but is now strictly the AD, enjoyed his time back in the gym.

“I’d lie if I said I didn’t miss coaching. But I was there strictly as coach. There was no administration duties and Julie was off and the family life was good. I do love coaching, but you throw in teaching with Julie working and three young kids, it’s tough to do.”

Hansen, who took over as AD in 2007, returned to work this week.

“It was a good break, but it’s nice to get back. The big thing was that Gord (Inglis) did an excellent job as AD while I was away and Carolyn (Neufeld), Janis (Makofka) and P.J. (Swales) all stayed and did a great job so I walked back in and there were no fires to put out.”

Neufeld and Makofka are program assistants and Swales marketing director.

The coaching staff is close to the same with only Kings basketball coach Craig Behan and Queens soccer coach Jerry Gerling gone. Dave Coley, who was assistant coach, takes over from Gerling while the basketball coach is close to being announced.

“It was good for Craig to get away,” said Hansen. “I talked with him and it’s a great opportunity for him (working with the University of Victoria men’s basketball program). His replacement is all but confirmed.”

Hansen stressed it was important to receive the support of the college in being able to take a sabbatical.

“I firmly believe the two years I was away have been extremely beneficial to the college and myself,” he said. “I come back with different experiences and different ideas that will aid our program. As well I got some time away and came back rejuvenated and excited to be here. You realize how good of a job this is.”

drode@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Rebels forward Arshdeep Bains eyes a loose puck in front of the Medicine Hat Tigers net Saturday night in WHL action at the Centrium. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Rebels fall short in 12th straight loss

Tigers 5 Rebels 2 (Saturday) Tigers 3 Rebels 2 (Monday) The Red… Continue reading

Red Deer property owners will receive their 2019 property assessment notices in the next few days.  (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer awaiting more details on how federal budget impacts city

The City of Red Deer is awaiting more information on how much… Continue reading

With a ban on sit-in dining once again in place, Las Palmeras owner Andre Lemus is gearing up for more takeout and delivery business. He has also applied to set up an outdoor patio, where dining is allowed under new restrictions. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Big interest in outdoor patios in Red Deer as sit-down dining banned again

City of Red Deer has tweaked its patio regulations to make it easier to get a permit

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

Ottawa Senators' Connor Brown, right, scores on Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom during second-period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Alta., Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Connor Brown scores twice for Ottawa Senators in 4-2 win over Calgary Flames

Connor Brown scores twice for Ottawa Senators in 4-2 win over Calgary Flames

Canada head coach Bev Priestman reacts during the women's international friendly soccer match between England and Canada at Bet365 stadium in Stoke on Trent, England, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. Priestman says her goal is to help Canada move up the Olympic podium after back-to-back bronze medals at the 2012 and 2016 Games. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Rui Vieira
Olympic soccer draw will allow Canadians to start planning on and off the pitch

Olympic soccer draw will allow Canadians to start planning on and off the pitch

Federal government’s extension of CEWS in budget is some good news for CFL franchises

Federal government’s extension of CEWS in budget is some good news for CFL franchises

Canada's Brendan Bottcher dropped a 6-3 decision to Scotland's Bruce Mouat in the men's final of the Humpty's Champions Cup. Bottcher makes a shot against Scotland at the Men's World Curling Championships in Calgary, Alta., Friday, April 9, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Mixed results for Canadian teams at Champions Cup as Homan wins, Bottcher loses

Mixed results for Canadian teams at Champions Cup as Homan wins, Bottcher loses

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. The University of Victoria says Williams has resigned effective immediately. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

Stewart Cink watches his drive down the second fairway during the final round of the RBC Heritage golf tournament in Hilton Head Island, S.C., Sunday, April 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Cink coasts to win at Hilton Head for 2nd title of season

Cink coasts to win at Hilton Head for 2nd title of season

The Official UEFA Champions League match balls are on display ahead of the Champions League quarter final second leg soccer match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Threats of expulsion as UEFA confronts Super League rebel 12

Threats of expulsion as UEFA confronts Super League rebel 12

San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau (12) motions to the crowd during a break to mark his passing Gordie Howe for most NHL games played in the first period of an NHL hockey game Monday, April 19, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Sharks’ Marleau breaks Howe’s NHL games played record

Sharks’ Marleau breaks Howe’s NHL games played record

Most Read