Longtime Red Deer volleyball coach Kirsten DeZutter has been inducted into the Alberta Schools Athletic Association Hall of Fame.
With years of service as a coach in Red Deer including multiple provincial championships and a winning record, DeZutter was thrilled by the honour.
“It’s pretty awesome, and a humbling experience because I know there are a lot of coaches out there who put as much work, effort, love, and care into their sport. They deserve it too,” she said in a media release.
Since 1999, DeZutter has been a teacher and a coach at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School
Her resumé since then has been nothing short of remarkable.
From 2001-2003 she willed the Raiders to three straight provincial championships. To this day they’re the only 4A high school volleyball program to win three straight in Alberta.
She also coached the senior girls’ volleyball team to seven straight appearances to the provincial finals winning five gold and seven silver medals.
“I have been very blessed with athletes who are willing to work hard, strive for excellence, always look to improve, and are willing to embrace the Raider culture,” she said.
“Every championship is special for its own reason. Every team goes through some kind of adversity or some kind of obstacle, and just working together as a unit to overcome those really brings you closer together.
“We always try to work through it together so that we come out stronger. Commitment to a team-first attitude and a positive Raider culture is what I believe to be the foundation of our success.”
Some of her favourite highlights are winning provincial gold on home court at Lindsay Thurber en route to two straight gold, both of which she won with her daughter Maddy.
However, in DeZutter’s mind nothing will beat the first provincial gold victory.
“It took place in the Hunting Hills’ main gym and we were playing against my old high school, Harry Ainlay. We had a really great weekend, and gained momentum as the weekend progressed,” she said.
“We were the underdog – we were not expected to win, but boy did we earn respect when we did.”
DeZutter grew up in Edmonton and was always passionate about sports, especially the team aspect.
“Throughout junior high and high school, I played a lot of sports. I enjoyed being an athlete, spending time with teammates and I also really connected with my coaches,” she said.
“I was coached really well growing up and I had great role models and mentors who inspired me to always improve, and I think that helped transfer into my academic and personal life.”
She then stayed close to home and pursued her bachelor of education and bachelor of science degrees at the University of Edmonton.
While she was there she volunteered as a coach at her former high school.
“I really enjoyed seeing sport from the coaching perspective and I had always thought wherever I teach I wanted to be able to contribute if I could in that capacity, and that’s how it grew,” she added.
“My parents taught me to give back, whenever I can, and giving back to sport when it gave me so much was an easy task to embrace.”