Coaching Staff


Junior Development COACHES (FOR AGES 9-13)

GRAEME FELL 

Junior Development Coach

Graeme began his career as a club athlete in England running cross-country and competing in all events. Specializing in steeplechase as he grew older, he earned National team spots on first Britain and then Canada. Competed at Commonwealth, Olympic and World Championships and is the former Canadian Record Holder in the 3000m steeplechase. He has been an elementary teacher for 16 years and has coached at elementary, high school and at the international level. His goal is to build successful, life long, athletes. Currently, Graeme is in charge of the Junior Development program, and advises on athlete development and program creation at virtually every level of the sport.

Braeden Charlton

ASSISTANT JUNIOR DEVELOPMENT COACH

Braeden has been coaching with the Thunderbirds for the past 4 years, assisting with the Junior Development program and local elementary school outreach programs.  Throughout university, Braeden has competed at the NCAA cross country championships twice with SFU, as well as multiple all-conference finishes in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in both cross country and track.


ENDURANCE COACHES (FOR AGES 14+ MIDDLE AND LONG DISTANCES, CROSS COUNTRY)

CHRIS JOHNSON 

head of endurance COACH 

Chris competed at the national level in the 800m level and transferred the knowledge he built up during his lengthy track career into coaching. He is the former head of cross country and track and field at St. George's School where his teams won several individual and team titles at the BC High School Championships, including the overall team title (boys and girls combined) at the 2012 BC High School Track and Field Championships with a boys only team. Chris has helped guide four Thunderbird middle distance athletes to spots on the Canadian National team and several of his athletes have run for Team BC in national level competition. In July 2015, he was also appointed Lead Endurance Coach at the University of British Columbia.

STAN JANG

SENIOR endurance COACH

Stan has been a competitive runner for most of his life and now, as an elite masters runner, ranked #1 nationally in his age group in the marathon. Stan is an NCCP certified club coach and has been coaching cross country and track & field at Charles Tupper Secondary School since 2011, bringinghome the school's first ever city championship in cross country. 

 

Sean Dawson

Assistant endurance Coach

Sean Dawson has been coaching cross-country and track and field for the past 12 years.  He is a teacher and is the Head of the P.E. department at West Point Grey Academy.  As well, he is the head of the school's cross country and track and field teams, and has won team titles at the BC High School Championships. Sean is a certified run, jump, throw instructor and is a NCCP Level III endurance coach. Prior to teaching, Sean was a registered message therapist at UBC Sports Massage Therapy, and was a competitive road cyclist, competing in North America and Europe.


POWER AND SPEED COACHES (FOR AGES 14+ sprints, hurdles, throws, jumps)

MARY CHEWNING 

sprints and hurdles COACH  (CLUB HIGH PERFORMANCE AND UNIVERSITY)

Mary is an Athletics Canada certified Performance Coach (formerly level 3) and coaches power/speed athletes from Grade 8 and upwards. She is also the Head Coach - Sprints and Hurdles at University of British Columbia.

She has been coaching since 2000 and joined the Thunderbirds in September 2014.  She has held coaching positions at Ocean Athletics and several high schools in the South Surrey area in hurdles, jumps, and sprints. Her athletes have represented Team BC at National Championships and Canada Summer Games, as well as Team Canada for the World Youth Games.

ANDREW COOKE

sprints and hurdles COACH (ages 14+) & (Masters 35+)

Originally from Vancouver, Andrew is a Level 3 NCCP certified coach for Sprints & Hurldes. He is a UBC track alumni who competed at the national level and uses these experiences to help athletes grow and meet their potential.  

LARRY BLASCHUK 

JUMPS COACH

First involved in track as an International level official before being invited to start coaching, Larry has been with the Vancouver Thunderbirds since 2006. He has coached numerous BC High School champions, Canadian Junior and Senior Champions, and Western Canada and Canada Summer Games medalists. Larry was the personal coach for Mike Mason, the BC Record holder in the event and a longtime National Team member as a World Junior Champion, a 2008 Olympian, a 2010 Commonwealth Games team member, and a FISU and NACAC medalist.  Larry is motivated to continue to give back to the sport that he feels passionately about. 

BYRON JACK

HORIZONTAL JUMPS

Reached National level as a triple-jump athlete and has been coaching since 1985. He has degrees in Physical Education and Education and is certified as a level 3 Jumps Coach. Still competes at the Masters’ Level internationally. 

Don Allemeersch

Throws Coach

Don is a well-rounded throws coach and certified fitness and Stretch Band instructor. He is an active masters throws athlete and current Canadian and BC Masters M55 record holder in discus and shot put.

Gordon Poljack

Pole Vault Coach

During his sport career, Gordan was Croatian the record holder in pole vault, as well as 3-time national champion. He also competed for the Croatian and Yugoslavian Track and Field team. Since moving to Canada in 2002 Gordan, has been involved in pole vault as a Masters athlete and assistant coach.

Bill Fisher

Pole Vault Coach

Bill Fisher competed nationally and internationally in the pole vault. Bill was national juvenile (youth) and junior champion and was selected for the National Junior Team for a European tour. Previously Bill coached Bruce Simpson, former Canadian champion in the pole vault. 

 

 


ADVISORS

LAURIER PRIMEAU

Laurier competed in both the decathlon and 400m hurdles internationally for Canada. He was the driving force behind the growth of the Vancouver Thunderbirds and coach with the club, at Saint Georges (where they won a BC High School team title under his reign) and at UBC before taking up the position as Head Coach with Scottish Athletics then Head Coach at Trinity Western University. He is currently Head Coach Track and Field at the University of British Columbia.