Looking to build off a breakthrough season in 2018, Valley Huskers head coach Bob Reist is adding two big names to his staff.
Blair Atkinson is on board as Reist dips into his Manitoba connections.
Atkinson has coached the University of Manitoba Bisons the last 12 seasons, spending 10 years as a receivers coach and the last two as offensive coordinator.
He has a Vanier Cup national championship ring from 2007 and has been a guest coach with the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
“Blair is an outstanding coach with a reputation that is well earned as a playcaller,” Reist said.
In his playing days, Atkinson was a standout junior player with the South Surrey Rams. He was named the Canadian Junior Football League’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2001 after setting new CJFL records for catches and yards in a season.
He went on to set more records with the Bisons and spent parts of the 2006 and 2007 CFL seasons with the Blue Bombers.
But the most attractive part of Atkinson resume is his status as co-founder of Recruit Ready Football, an elite training program in Manitoba that Reist is also involved with.
Many of the top high schoolers in that province pass through Recruit Ready on their way to the junior and university ranks.
Recruit Ready coaches have the opportunity to forge relationships with top prospects.
Reist’s ties to Recruit Ready and the Bisons helped him land several key players from last year’s Huskers, including quarterback Julian Wytinck, receivers Anthony Dyck and Brandon Poulin and running back Remis Tshiovo.
Atkinson will help keep that pipeline strong.
The other new face is an old face from the Howie Zaron years as Jeff Alamolhoda returns to the fold.
Coach ‘Hoda’ was Zaron’s defensive coordinator before leaving to join the Langley Rams.
As head coach of Langley, Alamolhoda led the team to four straight Cullen Cup appearances and two B.C. Football Conference championships.
As a player, Alamolhoda was a CJFL All-Canadian and BCFC Defensive Player of the Year with the Tri-City Bulldogs.
He’ll take on a smaller role with the Huskers, working with the linebackers and long snappers.