Grant Wilson said his Master of Sports Science (M.S.S.) degree in sports coaching from the United States Sports Academy directly led to his work as the head men’s volleyball coach at Brandon University in Manitoba.

Wilson earned his M.S.S. degree from the Academy while teaching middle school in Brandon, Man., and working as an assistant coach at Brandon University.

“As luck would have it, our head coach at the time decided to accept the athletic director position at the university,” Wilson said. “Having a master’s degree was a pre-requisite for the head coaching job due to the fact that there were also teaching duties assigned to the position in the Physical Education department. Having experience as an assistant, as well as the master’s degree, put me in position to land the job.  These experiences also made it possible for me to be selected to the coaching staff for Team Canada at the World University Games in Naples, Italy in 2019.  Without my master’s degree, these experiences wouldn’t have been possible.”

Like many of the Academy’s students, Wilson took advantage of the institution’s flexible scheduling options and was able to continue working full time while pursuing his degree.

“I was teaching full time, assistant coaching full time and I was a parent to a young son who was also just beginning to get involved in sport,” Wilson said. “If it wasn’t for the way the Academy’s program was set up, I’m pretty confident I wouldn’t have been able to complete my degree.

“I truly enjoyed my online learning experience at the Academy. My professors were always more than helpful, the learning platform itself was quite user friendly and even from the administrative side of things the people at the Academy were always very friendly and helpful.  Overall, it was a very positive experience and one that I continue to recommend to young aspiring coaches.”

In addition to working as the Bobcats’ head volleyball coach, Wilson also teaches in the school’s physical education department.

“I truly love both coaching and teaching,” he said. “Coaching and teaching are obviously quite time consuming so there are days where it can be a challenge but in all my years here I’ve never considered it work, as I’m doing what I love every day.

“Volleyball is one of the only team sports where one person can’t do it all themselves. It’s the ultimate team game, in my opinion, as everyone on the team has to rely upon each other to get the job done.  I love that team aspect and getting players to buy in to a team first mentality.”

Wilson played multiple sports as a child and always eyed a career in the sports field – on or off the field of play.

“Like most young kids in sport I dreamed of being a professional athlete for a career but when I figured out pretty quick that that wasn’t a reality for me, I wanted to find a way to stay in the sports field,” Wilson said. “I’m a competitive person by nature and so I obviously love the competitiveness that sport provides. There is no greater feeling than belonging to a team. Working towards common goals and pushing each other for excellence is something I truly enjoy. Watching our young athletes come in and essentially grow to be men both on and off the court is a very humbling experience and one that provides great pride and satisfaction.

“Sports provide so many valuable lessons for all involved:  teamwork, responsibility, accountability, communication, goal setting, dealing with setbacks, and the list goes on. Sports are also integral for promoting a healthy lifestyle in terms of training, diet, rest etc. which anyone can benefit from in their day to day life.”