The Olynyk family name is well known in Canada given the wonderful success and loyalty to his country that 7’0″ Miami Heat forward Kelly Olynyk has displayed. But long-time U-Sports/CIS/CIAU observers also resonate with the Olynyk name through his father, Ken Olynyk, a former All-Canadian player (4 seasons at Simon Fraser and a 5th at Laurentian under legendary coach Ken Shields) and 24-year career as a CIS coach. To boot, Kelly’s mother and Ken’s wife Arlene is former CIS referee.
Coach Ken started his coaching career in the early 80’s with a successful 10 year stint at Lethbridge and then later spent 14 seasons as head man of those very good U of T Varsity Blues teams of the mid-to-late 90’s that captured several OUA East championships and a Wilson Cup, repping at the Final 8 several times. Olynyk built a very good program in downtown Toronto before taking over as Athletic Director at Thompson Rivers University in 2003, a post he retired from last summer.
But as the old adage goes, “you can’t keep a good man down” and Olynyk looks to have recharged the coaching battery (at least for one season), getting set to take the reigns at UBC-Okanagan with an interim tag by his name at present. UBC-O recently hired Tom Huisman, who worked on Jennifer Brenning‘s staff in the Carleton athletic department after a career in the U-Sports Head Office, as their newest Athletic Director and Huisman made the decision to part ways with former Peter Guarasci – in what was a surprising move to most long-time observers – before settling on Olynyk as an interim boss. With Coach Ken on board as an interim, Huisman has an experienced, successful Head Coach who can vet the next coach as well as mentor the rookie AD in the nuances of running an Athletic Department.
Best of luck to Ken as he returns to the bench.