By: Cassie Dresch

It’s a new season for the Algonquin Thunder men’s volleyball team and with this new season comes a new man in charge.

Jay Mooney, Algonquin grad and former Thunder player, has stepped into the vacant role of head coach for the men’s volleyball team, bringing over 13 years of coaching experience along with him.

Mooney graduated from both business marketing and small business management at Algonquin. He donned the blue and white for the first time in the ‘93-94 season and played with the Thunder for three years. After graduation he took up coaching. His resume includes coaching stints at the Ottawa Kangaroos Volleyball Club, the University of Ottawa men’s volleyball program, the U18 Boys Ottawa Mavericks and the U16 Boys Ottawa Fusion.

The team is bringing in a man who knows what it takes to win. In 2009, he helped lead the U18 Mavericks to a national championship title in front of the hometown crowd and in May 2012, he took the U16 Fusion to second place at the national championships.

It wasn’t long after that he got a phone call from former Thunder men’s head coach Doug Anton.

“Doug had contacted me,” said Mooney. “He said that he got a position out West and that he and Ron [Port, director of athletic operations at Algonquin] talked and thought I’d be a good candidate. So then I got in touch with Ron.”
He was hired.

After a disappointing end to an amazing season last year, Mooney says he can definitely see this Thunder team finishing better than fifth place but they need to be willing to make any and all of the sacrifices in order to do so. With such a fresh-faced bunch, many playing in their first college season, it will take the work of a few key veterans to help Mooney out.

“We have two players that have been involved with this program previously – Ian [McAlpine] and Baiden [Stewart],” Mooney said. “We have to rely on them in terms of what it is that we want to demonstrate as the ‘Thunder Way.’
“But we’ve been fortunate enough to bring in Alex Oneid and Phil Yeldon who are coming from established programs. Even though we’re extremely young, having a couple very veteran spots helps us tremendously.”

Luckily for the Thunder, Mooney doesn’t believe being a relatively inexperienced team will hurt too much. The skill is there but so is the determination. He says it will be a combination of both – the skill and the dirty work – that will take them over the top. He’s ready to help get them there.

But before all the guts, glory, sweat and tears, Mooney is just excited to be back with the Thunder but on the other side of the bench.

“It’s great to be back at Algonquin,” he said. “For anybody who’s played here, it’s always a big piece of who you are. It’s a chance to stand on the sidelines, watching people wearing the name that you wore. It’s always an exciting part.”