In a come full circle fashion, Max Burt is back to where it all started.
The former Gander Collegiate student, turned professional volleyball player, has since retired and has turned his attention toward his old court.
Burt, a 6-foot 9-inch middle blocker spent nine years with team Canada, including a career highlight of winning gold at the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation - NORCECA – championship in 2015 in Mexico. He has also played volleyball professionally in Europe.
Stepping away from the sport was a life decision, said the 30-year-old.
“I had planned on playing longer, but a job opportunity came up (in Gander) that was too hard to turn down,” he said. “I have a young kid, 10 months, so it was also a chance to come back home and be around family.”
Having a positive experience coaching provincial programs in the past, he decided to volunteer his time to work with Gander’s youth.
“When I knew I was moving back I decided rather quickly I would like to continue being involved in volleyball,” he said.
His focus will be to help grow the sport in the area and pass on his knowledge of the court from a high-level perspective.
But most importantly he wants to be there for the students.
“I didn’t know what I was able to accomplish in this sport, but through good coaching I was able to realize my potential,” he said. “I always felt very fortunate to have that and I want to try and give that back.”
Deon Goulding, who oversees the Gander Colligates boys volleyball program, is elated to have Burt’s expertise.
“This is where his foundation was built, so it’s inspirational for the kids,” Goulding said. “It’s really nice to see him come back paying it for forward.”