The coaching ranks at Fivestar MMA has gone through a bit of a shake up. Shawn Albrecht has left the gym taking an opportunity to run his own facility in Vancouver, while fan favourite and MMA veteran Brad Stewart has stepped up to the plate to take on the role of head MMA coach.
Also involved in the coaching shuffle is Dylan Lielke as he’ll become the club’s head jiu jitsu coach.
Fivestar owner Justin Donally said in consultation with co-owner Tosha Mytron and Albrecht that a chance to own and run your own facility is simply a chance that shouldn’t be passed up.
“Shawn got the opportunity to go back to Vancouver to partner up with his old boss at West Coast. Shawn has the opportunity to own his own club down there so we chatted about it and Tosha and myself really encouraged him to take the opportunity and run with it. You’ve got the opportunity to run your own business, I think you’d be crazy to pass it up,” he said.
Despite leaving the gym, Albrecht will still be returning to Fort St. John on an occasional basis to run various programs roughly every six weeks.
Donally added having Stewart join the coaching ranks is a natural fit given his MMA background and his years of dedication to Fivestar.
“We immediately turned to Brad. Brad’s been with Fivestar since the start. He was training before Fivestar existed. He was one of the first professional fighters out of Fort St. John. He’s looking at the young guys coming up and wanting to get more involved in that so he’s excited and I’m really excited to see him take this is next step in the growth of Brad Stewart as a martial artist and a leader here at Fivestar,” he said.
Even though he’s entering the coaching side of things, local MMA fans haven’t seen the last of Stewart competing as he will still occasionally be stepping into the cage to battle future challengers.
Stewart feels strongly about what the gym means to him, and in turn is looking forward to giving back to the athletes and their training.
“I’m very excited to be able to help all the up and coming fighters from our gym and be a consistent part of their fight camps. Fivestar has been like a family to me so it’s going to be nice to help everybody out and continue to build the team,” he said.
Stewart will officially move into the role this coming Monday.