Andrew Casey of Corner Brook poses with his Coach of the Year award for his nordic ski coaching in Prince George at Caledonia Nordic Ski Club. Casey has decided to give up his coaching gig to join his wife in Winnipeg for a year. — Submitted photo
Andrew Casey was settled nicely into his coaching gig in Prince George so he really didn’t envision pulling up stakes.
But, sometimes in life you have no other choice but to make moves for the right reasons.
His decision to leave his position as head coach of the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club was really a decision brought on by his wife. Erica, a family physician, has accepted a one-year residency in emergency medicine in Winnipeg.
Casey, 27-year-old son of Corner Brook’s Gord and Marian, informed his talent pool of nordic skiers a couple weeks ago about his plans to move to Winnipeg at the end of June. It wasn’t an easy thing to do for a coach who connected well with his athletes and got some pretty impressive results from his athletes over the past two years.
“It’s bittersweet for sure,” Casey said Tuesday. “We’ve loved it up here. It’s been quite enjoyable and the club appreciated it and likewise I’ve loved the opportunity. It’s going to be a change, but it has to be done.”
The club has forged ahead with its effort to replace Casey by advertising the position on its website, but not before the executive committee made him an offer that would leave the door open for him to return next year.
“Right off the bat they said they would hold the position and use volunteers I guess for a year if it meant we’d come back, and I couldn’t say that we could do that,” he said. “I can’t commit to something like that ... we don’t know what a year in Winnipeg is going to hold and I don’t want to be limited like that.”
Time will tell where his coaching abilities will take him down the road, but everything he could possibly want for a good life is at his disposal in Prince George so there’s always a chance of a return.
“We would definitely consider coming back,” he said. “The ski community is fantastic and the medical community for her to work is fantastic so overall we really enjoyed it. It’s not off the table, but I wouldn’t say it’s a for sure.”
In two years as a full-time salaried coach, Casey transformed a small, volunteer-driven racing program and built it to the point where the Caledonia club is once again a force on the national nordic scene.
His guidance led to the placing of young athletes on medal podiums in both cross-country skiing and biathlon.
It appears it’s not only the nordic ski community who appreciates his coaching ability. Casey recently found out that he was selected the 2014 Coach of the Year for Northern British Columbia and that’s something he embraces because he’s fully aware of the big sports community he has immersed himself in for two years.
“It was a pretty great honour. It’s a big community here and lots of sports throughout B. C. and lots of coaches,” he said. “I’m not sure who was nominated. but I’m sure it was a good group of people so it was nice to be recognized.”
Casey will take it one day at a time in Winnipeg. However, it’s a safe bet he will resurface at some point and do what he does best.