I recently sat down with varsity program coordinator, Jack Krist, about the evolution of UTM Athletics and what we can expect this upcoming year. Seeing as Jack has been a part of the UTM athletics program for nearly 22 years, his expertise in the field was very useful.
Krist explains that “we went from a tiny little Gym C [which was] our only gym and then essentially… expanded and got this facility. We [are] able to now look and see what we could add.” From inducting men’s and women’s soccer into varsity only three years ago, UTM can now officially welcome both the men’s and women’s basketball teams to the varsity level this fall. They were previously competing in the d-league, which meant they only competed against teams at University of Toronto St. George and Scarborough.
UTM men’s and women’s basketball will soon be competing against colleges such as Sheridan and Humber. The women’s basketball team will still continue to have a d-league team while the men will have their division one basketball team. These teams will act as our junior varsity teams.
Aside from varsity sports, UTM also offers many intramural campus rec and extramural teams, such as ball hockey, indoor cricket, ultimate frisbee, and volleyball.
These are for those students who want to play a sport recreationally while still being competitive.
With the addition of assistant program coordinator for varsity and recreational sport, Brittany Tierney, working alongside Krist and Cam Walker, program coordinator of recreational sport, they will ensure a successful campus rec and extramural year. Darren Turner, the fitness program assistant for strength and conditioning, has also been added to the full-time UTM athletic staff. Turner trains the varsity teams to ensure they are in the best shape possible both during the season and in their offseason, while also coaching the Olympic weightlifting team.
At UTM, our athletes don’t just pride themselves on their athletic abilities but also their academics. According to Krist, UTM had 13 national scholars last year out of a possible 68 athletes. This means they received a GPA of 3.5 or higher.
Krist also explains how fortunate we are to have our athletes playing on their respective teams for 4-5 years. Most college programs are only 1-3 years, so this gives their athletes a shorter amount of time to gel and get to know one another and their playing styles.
Krist goes on to say, “[There’s] such a sense of community at UTM as opposed to at some of the bigger campuses and the downtown campus where you’re just a number.” He adds that “the more people you meet through sport and physical activity, those are the friends you’re going to have for life.”
“Every year our coaches are stressing that team concept—that we need to work as a team,” says Krist. The notion of team unity is crucial on any sports team. You have to know your teammates and feel a sense of togetherness in order to succeed. Krist explains that all he wants from his coaches is to “[get] the athletes to buy into what they’re saying and getting them to work hard. The more effort you put in, the more reward at the end of the line. I think if everyone is putting in that effort the teams will succeed.” At UTM, the men’s and women’s teams of every sport support one another and this is just as important as having the support from your own team.
UTM Athletics has come a long way since the days of only having “tiny little Gym C.” Our program is still evolving, but with the help of our stellar coaching staff, knowledgeable program office workers, and dedicated athletes, we are on our way to victory.