You could say that volleyball runs in the family for Ed and Kristine Drakich, the sibling head coaches of the Blues men’s and women’s volleyball teams.
Both have played and coached at the national level and are individual inductees to the U of T Sports Hall of Fame. Their late father, Eli, who coached Blues volleyball from 1981 to 1996, is a team inductee. “Ed and I grew up on the beach in a playpen while [our parents] played beach volleyball,” says Kristine. “We’ve been around it all of our lives.”
The Drakiches are very likely the only brother-and-sister combo coaching the same sport at a university in Canada. Kristine has led the Blues to the OUA Final Four 19 consecutive times; Ed played for Canada at the 1996 Olympics. The sibling rivalry was sometimes intense when they were younger, but Ed says the competitive spirit has given way to a more co-operative approach. “We help each other,” he says. “We genuinely care about each other’s programs.”
Both are interested in raising volleyball’s profile in Canada and at U of T. “We’re trying to find ways to develop the sport so that it’s in a better position in 10 years time. We both have a bigger, broader vision,” says Kristine.
As for the immediate future, Kristine is hopeful the women’s team will make it to the Ontario University Athletics finals, while Ed’s team is aiming to make the playoffs. Sports are unpredictable, though. Says Kristine: “On any given day, anybody can win.”