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McKay chooses familiar school

Setter takes family option, joins Wesmen

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Volleyball player Josh McKay has joined the family business.

The setter from the provincial AAAA boys' champion Dakota Lancers, Josh has committed to the University of Winnipeg Wesmen men's volleyball team for next season. He will play for his father Larry McKay, who is the team's head coach. Josh's mother Tanya is the head coach of the Wesmen women's basketball team.

"I've lived there, basically, that (U of W) gym is a second home to me, for sure," said Josh, a 6-foot-3 Grade 12 student who turned 17 on Jan. 14.

With both his parents coaching, Josh was at Wesmen practices nearly every day.

"I remember having Josh at Larry's games when he was two weeks old. I guess the noise at the gym became a song for him, the cheers and volleyballs hitting the floor became a rhythm he would love," Tanya said.

In the end, Josh knew in his heart he belonged at the U of W.

"I definitely was open to other options, even though the Wesmen seemed like the best fit right from the start," said Josh, who considered offers from five other schools. "I was open to the idea of playing for another team because I always loved watching other teams play when I was a kid. In the end, it was just staying home with my family. I didn't want to leave my friends and my family. I'm fortunate because I'm getting everything I ever dreamed of right here."

The experience of being coached by his dad won't be new as Josh experienced it previously in club volleyball

"It'll be interesting. We'll probably butt heads a few times, that's to be expected, but I know it's going to be a great experience," said Josh, who was named MVP at the 2010-11 provincial high school championship.

The University of Manitoba has a father-son duo as well in head men's volleyball coach Garth Pischke and his son Dane, a left-side hitter.

Larry said the Wesmen are getting a coachable and versatile player who happens to be his son.

"As a dad, I am proud of him but I'm just happy that he went through a good process and made the choice that was right for him," Larry said.

"As a coach, I am thrilled to have a player of his calibre join our program. He has benefitted from being coached by (Dakota head coach) Phil Hudson. Phil has taught passing and hitting and helped Josh develop all of those things."

Larry said this was the first full season Josh had played the setter position. Prior to that, he also played the outside and opposite hitter positions.

"Josh already possesses the ability to serve and block at the CIS level," Hudson said in a press release.

Dan Lother, the Wesmen's fifth-year setter, will graduate at the end of this season, leaving the position open for competition.

Zack Diboll, who played for the Bisons last season, is expected to compete with Josh for the role as starting setter next season.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 9, 2011 C4

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