May 31 – Women’s lacrosse
Brandan Sweeney, who served as an assistant coach with the McMaster men’s lacrosse team since 2011, was named the head coach of the women’s lacrosse team.
He formerly served as the head coach of Queen’s team starting in 2004 while completing his master’s degree. Winning the OUA Coach of the Year award in 2005, the first Gaels coach to win the honour, his success continued for multiple years there and for a season with the University of Washington.
After obtaining his PhD from Queen’s in 2010, he returned to McMaster in 2011.
“It’s been a decade since my last head coaching post at the OUA level, and I’m looking forward to the unique challenge that it brings,” said Sweeney.
His priority and mindset seems to be centered on creating a positive student-athlete environment for his team to succeed in no matter what success might mean to them.
“For some, it’s winning, and winning is ideal. But why do many people play? They play for the team-building and to learn and develop, and for many, that’s part of their learning alongside their studies. We want to build a successful program where we learn how to be competitive and how to work hard, but also how to work as a team and develop those relationships and leadership capabilities.”
He will also serve as the head coach of the Hamilton Bengals U19 girls field program.
June 12 – Men’s volleyball
The men’s volleyball team, defending OUA champions, added two new names to their staff. The first is Ian Eibbitt, who has served twice as the head coach of the Team Ontario U18 program and returns to the provincial staff in 2017 for the Canada Games. The second is Aytac Kilic, former Turkish national team player, who has nearly two decades of experience as a player and a coach.
“We continue to provide tremendous resources to help develop our student-athletes and help them reach their potential,” said head coach Dave Preston.
June 19 – Women’s basketball
It was announced that the women’s basketball team would be participating in the Buddha Light International Association Cup tournament from July 25 to 30 at the Kaoshiung Arena in Taiwan.
Organized by the Fo Guang Shan Monastery, the tournament features eight women’s teams and eight men’s teams with representatives from the USA, Australia, France, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and China.
“Being exposed to very different styles of play from all the different countries will be exciting. I believe that as much as they will gain from the on-court experience, our team will also gain so much from the trip itself and being exposed to a different culture,” said head coach Theresa Burns.
This comes one year after the men’s basketball team participated in the men’s tournament there and achieved first place.
June 23 – Nike
Glen Grunwald, the Director of Athletics and Recreation, announced a new partnership agreement for McMaster athletics with Nike. This comes after the five year exclusivity deal signed in 2012 that made McMaster the first Nike school in Canada. Local distributor T. Litzen Sports in Dundas will continue to be the main servicer of the agreement.
“It is crucial that we have the support of great corporate partners, and it doesn’t get much bigger than Nike. We have done some amazing things over the life of this partnership, and I am confident even more is on the horizon,” said Grunwald.
In addition, T. Litzen Sports is donating a new scoreboard with video capability for the Burridge Gymnasium. It will be installed in the fall in time for the start of the 2017-18 varsity sports season.
June 27 – Men’s volleyball
It was announced that the men’s volleyball team would welcome the Ohio State Buckeyes team for two matches on Oct. 21 and Oct. 22. The last time they played was in Burridge Gym on Dec. 30, 2016 where the Marauders won the single match 3-0 (25-23, 25-16, 32-30).
Ohio State has won the last two NCAA national championships, and the Marauders have won the last five OUA titles. Since McMaster’s first trip to Columbus in 2014, they have won three of the five matches played.
“I can’t think of a better way to help prepare ourselves to compete for a National Championship in our own gym next March,” said head coach Dave Preston.
Special thanks to Fraser Caldwell, Sports Information Director, Bill Malley, Media Coordinator, and the rest of the staff at the Department of Athletics and Recreation for the information and quotes for all of the dates featured.