Kirkpatrick reflects on RRC Polytech dropping varsity sports teams indefinitely

By: Bryce Hunt

The last time Scott Kirkpatrick stepped on the court with the RRC Rebels, he celebrated a perfect season, capped by championships in the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC) and Northern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NIAC). Little did he know, that would be his last season as head coach for the team.

The Rebels men’s basketball team, along with the other varsity sports programs, were cut in January to make room for the College’s new Campus Well-Being unit.

The decision halted a half-decade of dominance by the varsity program.

“I was definitely disappointed,” Kirkpatrick said. “I didn’t feel like we were done what we had been doing at Red River, so it has been a tough two years.”

During his five-year tenure, Kirkpatrick led the Rebels to four MCAC championships and won the coach of the year award for the MCAC in 2016.

“I really enjoyed every minute of my time at RRC,” he said. “I am grateful I was given the opportunity to coach. We had a great staff from the coaches, administration, maintenance, game day staff and my coaching staff.”

Former Rebels coach Scott Kirkpatrick watches during a 2019 basketball game. The season was his last as the varsity sports teams have been discontinued./RED RIVER COLLEGE POLYTECHNIC

Kirkpatrick, a gym teacher at Maples Collegiate, is currently coaching the Marauders basketball team. That gig was supposed to serve as a holdover while he waited for the College’s decision about its sports teams.

Now he’s unsure what the future holds for his coaching career.

“I spent a lot of time last year trying to decide what would make the most sense for me moving forward,” he said. “Now that the decision is final at RRC, I’ll have to really discuss with my family about what happens after this year.”

While it’s unknown if the Rebels will ever return to competition, the MCAC said it’s leaving the door open for a reunion in the future.

In the meantime, the Campus Well-Being unit will encourage more students and faculty to be active.

“We’re grateful for the contributions made by our former Rebels athletes, coaches and staff for making athletics possible,” Laureen Janzen, director of student services said. “A big piece of our strategic plan is to be more inclusive and enhance the student experience for all students.”

The new unit will use the college’s athletic facilities and is expected to start up this fall, with virtual options available to serve all RRC Polytech students.