With each passing month, a new UTM team is inducted into the world of OCAA. Next on the docket is badminton, which the Eagles will participate in starting in February. With regional tournaments at Humber College less than a month away, head coach Lam Trinh is doing his best to ready his team for OCAA competition.

Unlike other Eagles coaches who have been promoted to coach UTM’s OCAA teams, Trinh is a newcomer. Having spent his entire playing and coaching career at Humber, Trinh’s expertise in badminton is what made him a viable coaching candidate. He began coaching the Humber Hawks in 2006, starting as an assistant coach and working his way up to head coach after three years on the job. He was quick to find success as a head coach, earning the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Coach of the Year award in 2010 along with two OCAA Coach of the Year awards in 2010 and 2011.

Interestingly enough, Trinh never planned to coach as a career, nor did he start playing badminton with the intention of competing at the college level. He got into the sport to play with his friends at a badminton club and felt welcomed by the community.

“Playing badminton became my hobby,” says Trinh. “Not only because of all the interesting people I met along the way, but also the satisfaction I got from a great rally.” He credits the sport with pushing his physical and mental boundaries and helping him blow off steam from schoolwork.

It was during his first year attending Humber for a post-diploma program in web development that the school announced its venture into the OCAA. Trinh was interested in playing on the team and his performance was good enough that the school offered him a coaching position when his program was complete.

Although Trinh had created a legacy in the badminton program at Humber, he chose to come to UTM to develop a team from the ground up.

“Coaching at the early stages of development will give me the advantage of developing a program without feeling strapped into following a certain way of coaching or how the program runs,” he says. He believes that this opportunity to create goals and set core values will be beneficial to team success—if not now, then in years to come.

His first impression of UTM? “Great facility,” he says. “Staff and students are friendly and I’m proud to say that the Eagles program supports me entirely on things that I want to accomplish for the badminton program.”

In terms of the progress of the badminton team, Trinh could not be more proud. “Everyone has been putting in 110% at the practices and tournaments,” says Trinh, noting that the players are lacking in experience at the OCAA level but are determined to achieve success. “Seeing my athletes push that hard, learn, and grow under my guidance is a very rewarding experience.”

He adds that in his eight years in the OCAA, this year sports the highest level of competition he’s ever seen.

The badminton team will compete in men’s and women’s singles, doubles, and mixed doubles during their west regional competition at Humber College, which takes place February 6 and 7. If the team performs well, there is a chance that they can go on to the OCAA championships played at the end of February.

In this new year, Trinh is happy to take on a new challenge. He admits that it was difficult to say goodbye to his home of nine years at Humber, but looks forward to creating a new legacy at UTM.

“Coaching a new school and having to deal with a new atmosphere is definitely not an easy transition, especially with the journey I had at Humber,” he says. “But after taking two years off from coaching at Humber, I feel like it’s about time to make another footprint in my life and experience a new environment.”