In Linda Henderson’s eight years as director of Athletics, she has seen first-hand the success of NAIT’s badminton program. She has also seen the growth of the sport of badminton in not only the province of Alberta, but throughout Canada as well. The denominator of all of this is head coach Jordan Richey, who just coached his final season here at NAIT.
“He really saved the badminton program, not only at NAIT, but he saved the sport of badminton in the province of Alberta,” Henderson said recently.
“When coaches and programs were folding, he remained steady and led his group and then worked with the rest of the league in order to be able to put the sport back into Alberta,” said Henderson.
“Not only did he do that but now he is doing that for the rest of Canada. So Ontario flourishes in badminton, B.C. is struggling and Alberta con-tinues to flourish, so he’s really working on a global perspective now.”
Richey’s passion for badminton started at a young age. The former ACAC badminton All-Conference player began the sport in high school before moving to Grande Prairie to play for the Wolves. He quickly made the transition from player to coach and coached Alberta at the Arctic Winter games, then transitioned to college coaching, first as an assistant coach and then, in 1998, head coach of the NAIT badminton program.
In his 17 years at NAIT, he has twice earned recognition as the CCAA badminton college coach of the year (’07, ’12), and his players have won 17 national championships and numerous ACAC team championships. His leadership helped the Ooks host the CCAA national championships in 2002, 2010 and 2014.
“Not only did he win all those medals, but he really did a lot to elevate the Athletics program here in general at a time perhaps when it wasn’t as strong as it is now,” said Henderson.
In addition to his commitment to athletes on campus, Richey has been on the ACAC Badminton Sport Management Team for the last eight years and is the current CCAA National badminton convenor. He was also one of the first coaches at NAIT to recruit international student athletes and it was instantly successful with the likes of Dan Kai and Yang Sun.
And, as if he weren’t already busy enough, Richey is also the communications officer for the Department of Athletics, a job he will continue to do for the department. But he will also continue to work with coaches.
“What he gave back to the sport and how he mentors coaches – pretty much every year he has a coach that he is working with and doing a mentor-ship program for the CCAA. He is truly an amazing person.”
Richey leaves the program on a high note, with his team winning the ACAC team championship for a second year in a row and taking home three med-als at the CCAA national championships, including golds in mixed-doubles (Rosanna Chan and Sam Kim) and women’s doubles (Kai-Li Huang and Seulbi Kim).
The program will continue without him and the department is currently looking for a new coach.
Bridgette Tsang, Sports Editor