The Ooks have named Phil Dixon as the new head coach of the men’s volleyball program after the departure of former head coach Jordan Taylor.
The team officially announced Dixon as the interim head coach in a press release on July 21st, stating that Taylor would leave NAIT before the 2023-2024 season.
“It has been a pleasure to have Jordan coach our men’s volleyball program for the last two seasons,” Director of NAIT Athletics and Recreation Jordan Richey said in the press release, “We would like to thank Jordan for his time at NAIT and wish him nothing but the best as he takes his talents to Ontario.”
Taylor will join the York University Lions after eight years with the Ooks. During his time with the blue and gold, Taylor was an assistant coach on the men’s team before being awarded the head coach position in 2021.
As the head coach of the program, Taylor carried a 26-9 record with the Ooks and led the team to a silver medal in the 2021 playoffs, capturing their first medal since 2014-2015.
Taylor also played a central role in helping recruit the seven players joining NAIT’s men’s volleyball team this year in what has been called a “historic recruiting class” by NAIT Athletics.
Despite Taylor’s impressive legacy, Richey said that Dixon was the “perfect choice” thanks to his experience with the team and staff. “The players and the department are looking forward to working with Phil to continue the strong culture that has been established throughout the men’s volleyball program.”
Dixon spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach under Taylor and believes he’s ready for the upcoming year that awaits him as head coach.
“I am delighted and grateful for the opportunity to be welcomed back to NAIT to work with this talented group of guys as their head coach after two years working with NAIT [men’s volleyball] in an assistant coach role,” Dixon said in a press release. “I’m most looking forward to getting in the gym, reconnecting with ten returners & welcoming the seven players to the program who will don the Ooks jersey for the first time as we continue to build on NAIT Athletics culture of excellence.”
Dixon is also familiar with coaching in the ACAC. In 2014, he joined the King’s University Eagles to lead their men’s volleyball team,where he was named ACAC Coach of the Year in 2017.
He’s also coached across Canada and abroad, including assisting with the Canadian National B Team in Gatineau and coaching professionally in Nordenskov, Denmark, for the Nordenskov UIF in the country’s top volleyball league.
As the upcoming volleyball season approaches, the men’s team is still searching for their first ACAC championship since 1977. The team showed signs of trending up over the past two seasons as the Blue and Gold won the North division in 2021 before finishing fourth in 2022-2023. The team will head to Concordia University to play their first game, against the Thunder, on September 17.