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EDITOR DON WELLS ASSISTANT EDITOR STEVE TUCKWOOD
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Hundreds of students took part in the “Great Trek” from Martha Piper Plaza to join a record crowd at Thunderbird Stadium for 2014 Homecoming Game.
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MESSAGE FROM THE UBC PRESIDENT
UBC Thunderbird Athletics is the most successful university program in Canada.
That’s a sweeping statement, but an accurate one – and something that should make every UBC fan proud. Our Thunderbird teams have won a total of 91 Canadian Interuniversity Sport Championships – three in the last year alone – and that’s the best record of any university in the country. In the last academic year the Thunderbirds also won four conference titles, produced three CIS Players of the Year, and celebrated nine Coaches of the Year.
When UBC champions take to the podium, they celebrate more than a win. They embody the quality of our programs and inspire their peers to work that much harder. They demonstrate that being accepted to UBC is the first step on a continual path to improvement.
Beyond varsity, UBC Athletics also benefits the rest of the student body. At UBC Vancouver, more than 23,000 students participated in a program or intramural sport last year, and 29,000 students, alumni and other community members turned out to cheer at Thunderbird games. In Kelowna, the UBC Okanagan Heat has emerged as a competitive new UBC presence on the national scene, with remarkable successes as full members of CIS Canada West and tremendous engagement with the community.
To this end, I am committed to doing everything I can to support and promote UBC Athletics in Vancouver and in Kelowna. It will include helping to develop partnerships with the private sector, donors, and sports organizations. It will mean promoting innovation and ensuring access to the equipment, lab space, facilities and training that will support excellence. Throughout, the implementation process will be inclusive and responsive, leveraging lessons learned and affording all stakeholders a voice.
Athletics are a rich part of UBC’s history and crucial to its future success. The annual UBC Millennium Breakfast in Vancouver and UBC Okanagan Athletics Scholarship Breakfast in Kelowna have raised $11 million to date, and created generous endowments in support of student-athletes on both campuses. The graduation rates, the number of wins, the level of community spirit, the amount of support – all these are important markers of the program’s success, but my favourite marker is the 164 Academic All-Canadians produced on both campuses of UBC last year – student-athletes who achieved an academic standing of 80 per cent or better while playing on a varsity team. This accomplishment illustrates what I value most about university athletics – people pursuing their passion with such gusto, and with such a degree of mentorship and support, that they can achieve otherwise unimaginable results.
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UBC Athletics has been forging its own way along that path. Having conducted a major consultation and review in Vancouver in the past year, we are now in the process of implementing the recommendations.
As we look to the future, it’s interesting to recall the best of our past, including the origin of the UBC Vancouver totem. In the Kwakwaka’wakw tradition, the Thunderbird is a creature so powerful that its wing beats cause the thunder and stir the wind. For UBC, it is also a symbol of reconciliation. The first Thunderbird pole – Victory through Honour – was presented to UBC by the Kwakwaka’wakw carver Ellen Neel and Chief William Scow at a homecoming game in 1948. Recognizing that UBC had been using the totem since 1934, the Kwakwaka’wakw reached out with the hand of friendship and presented the pole as a kind of blessing. It is our ongoing challenge to do justice to that honour as we celebrate a century of tradition and firm the foundation for the next hundred years. Sincerely, ARVIND GUPTA
P R ES I D EN T UN I V ER S I T Y O F B R I T I S H C O LUM B I A
UBC President Arvind Gupta, seen here during pre-game coin toss, was among the thousands who took in September’s Homecoming Game.
MID-TERM EXAMINATION After a year of rigorous evaluation, UBC’s Managing Director of Athletics and Recreation, Ashley Howard, has charted a course for the department’s response to the changing needs of students, and to new opportunities that have emerged on the horizon of highperformance sport. With the current season at a mid-way point, she shares some highlights about the journey so far, and what the university community can expect to see a little further down the road.
2014 HOMECOMING “Our staff and colleagues from the Alumni office put enormous effort into Homecoming this year and had fantastic results with huge attendance and a superbly run event. The student participation in the Great Trek march to the stadium was really uplifting, and our event management team did a terrific job with the pre-game celebrations on the plaza. Calgary obviously had an exceptional football team this year so the result wasn’t what we hoped for, but we proved that people can get excited about Thunderbird events, including students and alumni. When we talk about our objectives around community engagement and raising school spirit, this is a good example of the collaborative approach we have in mind.”
SUPPORT AND SERVICES FOR STUDENTATHLETES “The university’s injections of new and recurring revenue have enabled us to fast-track some of our plans to provide better services and support for athletes and to build on our partnerships and community engagement strategies. To that end, we recently appointed Gord Hopper as Director of Athletics, Performance and Team Services. This is a new position that will lead our efforts in sport science and sport medicine, coordinating research opportunities with practical impact for our coaches and athletes, and working in partnership with other performance organizations. Gord brings a distinct perspective from years of experience
with the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association, Own the Podium, the Canadian Sport Institute and ViaSport. His appointment, coupled with Director of Athletics, Operations and Student-Athlete Services, Theresa Hanson’s outstanding inter-collegiate experience and leadership with Canada West and CIS, will result in a unique combination of skills to empower and support our coaches. In addition, we have a new Senior Manager, Sport Science and Sport Medicine, a position that has been filled by James Brotherhood for the past year on a secondment from the Canadian Sport Institute, and we recently announced the appointment of Joe McCullum as Head Coach, Strength and Conditioning. We will also have a new Strength and Conditioning supported internship program which helps nurture student development and offers increased support for student-athletes. We also have a new project coordinator position to provide support for coaches around sport planning and other key initiatives, as well as a partnership with the School of Kinesiology on a shared nutritionist position. Recent investments in technology and equipment have already enhanced our capabilities in sports medicine, physiotherapy, training and performance analysis. These investments coincide with some long overdue renovations to our headquarters at War Memorial Gym to allow for new staff, and to expand our available space to accommodate new services like video analysis and injury rehabilitation.”
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NEW UBC AQUATICS CENTRE
Architectural rendering of UBC’s new Aquatic Centre, located north of War Memorial Gym.
On the engagement side we have recently appointed Neeta Soni as Director Community, Engagement and Sponsorship. Neeta comes to us with many years of experience in marketing and client services with VANOC and United Way. We have also appointed a new Manager, Marketing & Communications for the department, Aaron Miu. These two new positions will be a huge resource for our school spirit and community initiatives, and will support new revenues in the form of additional gate receipts, partners and sponsorship.
PARTNERSHIPS “We have begun construction of the National Soccer Development Centre, which is the result of a $21 million partnership announced in 2012 between the university, the provincial government and the Vancouver Whitecaps. The centre includes four new fields scheduled for completion in 2015 and a 35,000 square-foot field house that we hope will be ready by the end of 2016. We have other projects in the pipeline, including a new and exciting partnership with lululemon. They are providing yoga classes for our studentathletes and have begun providing access to their testing lab. We’ll also have some news to share in the near future about a new agreement with the Canadian Sport Institute which includes a number of performance enhancing initiatives, as well as a technical gap analysis project that we are piloting with three of our coaches. We are also in talks with the School of Kinesiology on some important sport science and sport medicine initiatives, and the Sauder
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School of Business to improve some of our planning and management processes. It’s a great start but there is much more to come.”
CAPITAL PROJECTS “The soccer development centre is an exciting project, as is the new Aquatic Centre. We are thrilled that construction of the Aquatic Centre is now under way with completion targeted for the fall of 2016. It will be state-of-the-art swimming facility that will service all needs - varsity swim teams, students and the broader UBC community. It’s a $40 million project, with a little over two-thirds of that provided by UBC Properties Trust. We will be responsible for about 30 per cent of the costs so naturally this has become a major thrust in our current development efforts, but an important one. We are also proceeding with plans for a new baseball training facility in Thunderbird Park, thanks to a generous donation, and hope to begin construction early next year. Meanwhile, a lot of people have asked about plans for War Memorial Gym, which is challenging and costly to operate. Currently there is some detailed planning work under way to review a number of different options.”
PHOTO: BOB FRID/C A N A DA SOCCER
Left: Women’s field hockey team celebrates fourth consecutive CIS Championship in November; Right: Canada’s Christine Sinclair has been confirmed as guest speaker at 2015 ZLC Millennium Scholarship Breakfast on February 24
ALUMNI EVENTS “With the FIFA Women’s World Cup coming to Vancouver this year, we are thrilled to have confirmed Christine Sinclair as the keynote speaker for this year’s ZLC Millennium Scholarship Breakfast. One of the keys to the breakfast’s success has been the matching funds from the university, which has resulted in over $10 million raised to date for athlete scholarships. With the university again matching the proceeds, and ZLC Financial signing on as title sponsor, we are looking forward to another sell-out for the 15th annual event on February 24. This year’s Blig Block Banquet and UBC Sports Hall of Fame induction on April 7 will also be extra special with the salute to our swimmers from 1998 to 2007 and to Tom Johnson. Their induction coincides with the 50th anniversary of the firstever CIS swim championship for UBC and so we expect a large number of swimming alumni and their families to be in attendance.”
VARSITY HIGHLIGHTS “UBC teams have won more national championships than any other Canadian university so there is always going to be lots of action at the conference and national championship level in any given year. My hope is we can continue to celebrate the long standing nature of our wins, but also do some analysis on recent years too. I want to understand the trends in the last five to ten years at UBC and at other leading schools. I am certain we continue to excel, but it’s important to know exactly what it is that
underpins our success so that we can reach new heights and attempt to duplicate the model in other sports. Looking ahead, we will soon begin plans to host the 2015 CIS Women’s Soccer Championships and the 2016 CIS Men’s Basketball Championships.”
LINGERING CONCERNS “We have made progress towards balancing the budget in the longer term thanks to alumni support and increased investment from the university, but to be perfectly honest, we still have a long way to go to meeting the needs of such a broad-based program and to fund the enhancements already in place. The good news is that we have fantastic coaches and staff. We also have passionate alumni and a university leadership team that supports our objectives to provide better support for our athletes and more opportunities for the general student population. We have a lot of work to do, but we are getting through the challenges that are inherent within any changing environment. I think optimism is growing and our vision for the future is coming into focus for more and more people.” ;
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rts hall of spo
UBC Sports Hall of Fame to Honour Swim Coach Johnson and Decade of Dominance
THE 2015 UBC BIG BLOCK AWARDS and Sports Hall of Fame Dinner will feature the largest-ever class of inductees, as some 125 members of UBC’s men’s and women’s swim teams from 1998 to 2007 enter the Hall of Fame in the Team category. Under the guidance of head coach, Tom Johnson, UBC’s swim teams of this era – the aptly named “Decade of Dominance” - won 10 consecutive men’s and women’s CIS Championships and produced 42 international competitors, including Olympians Brian Johns and Kelly Stefanyshyn, who will be inducted in 2015 in the Athlete category. Johnson, the founder and architect of UBC’s modern swim program and a coach of nine Canadian Olympic teams, will be the sole entry in the Builder category.
University in Halifax, with the men’s team finishing with a CIS record-breaking 787.5 points (surpassed by UBC’s women’s team in 2012 with 811.5 points).
The remarkable period in UBC sport history began in the fall of 1997 when some 35 athletes began classes and a year of training under the direction of Johnson and assistant coach Randy Bennett. Six months later they travelled to Sherbrooke, Quebec and captured the first of ten consecutive CIS Championship banners, with the men’s team amassing 660 points to claim a 223-point victory over the second-place Calgary Dinos. The final dual championship performance occurred in 2007 at Dalhousie
The 42 international competitors who emerged from these teams, which included 13 Olympians, won a combined total of 109 medals in international competition. Johns and Brent Hayden both made three Olympic appearances, with Hayden winning a bronze medal in 100-metre freestyle in London in 2012. Hayden led in the overall international medal count from this period with 20, while two-time Olympian and current UBC Sports Hall of Fame member Jessica Deglau led all female competitors with 18.
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There were countless highlights between, including both teams winning by the widest margins of victory in CIS history in 2006 at Laval University, and Brian Johns competing in 34 CIS career races and winning an unprecedented 33 gold medals and one silver. His CIS wins included a world short-course record of 4:02.72 set in 2003 in 400-metre medley. 1999 Pan Am Games gold medalist Kelly Stefanyshyn led UBC’s women’s team within this same period, winning a total of 31 CIS medals (18 gold, 12 silver and one bronze).
Far left; 2015 Hall of Fame inductee Brian Johns in action in 2002. Above left: Kelly Stefanyshyn celebrates her gold medal in 1999 Pan American Games; Above: UBC men’s and women’s swim teams each made it 10 consecutive CIS championships in 2007.
Backstroke specialist Mark Versfeld, who was inducted into the UBC Sports Hall of Fame in the Athlete category last year, won a total of 11 international medals, including two gold and one bronze in the 1998 Commonwealth Games, and a silver and bronze at the World Aquatic Championships that same year. Tom Johnson came to UBC in 1990 after a decade as head coach of the Canadian Dolphin Swim Club. During his time at UBC he synchronized the resources and expertise of the Dolphins, the UBC varsity swim program and Swimming Canada to create a revered national training centre. Since his arrival 25 years ago, UBC’s swim program has won 17 women’s and 12 men’s CIS championships, four of which were won under the guidance of current head coach Steve Price. “Looking back on it today, I have an even better appreciation of how incredible that 10 year-period was,” said Price, who came to UBC to mentor under Johnson in 1995 and later served as a UBC assistant coach. “Tom had a vision right from the get-go to create the best possible swimming situation from the community level all the way up to the highest level possible, and he stood for excellence
all the way through. He was instrumental in creating the culture to allow championship swimming to occur at UBC.” Johnson was also responsible for mentoring other top-flight Canadian swim coaches, including Price, Randy Bennett, Derrick Schoof and Brian Johns, who was added to UBC Swimming’s coaching roster this year. “Tom has done a masterful job building the UBC program,” said Bennett, who was head coach of Canada’s 2012 Olympic team. “The legacy that Tom created and is still part of will always be the benchmark for varsity sport in Canada”. The salute to Johnson, Stefanyshyn, Johns and the 19982007 swim teams will officially take place at the annual Big Block Awards and Sports Hall of Fame dinner on April 7 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Among those expected to be in attendance are members of UBC’s 1964-65 men’s swim team and their coach, Jack Pomfret, who 50 years earlier guided his team to victory in the first-ever CIS (then CIAU) Men’s Swimming Championships. The triumph also marked the first Canadian university championship for UBC in any sport. ;
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PHOTO BY MARTIN DEE
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25 years after arriving on deck at UBC, Tom Johnson will enter the UBC Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.
St rokesof Genius BY DON WELLS
STRANGE AS IT MAY SEEM , the renowned success of UBC’s varsity swim program can ultimately be traced back to the late 1950’s and the construction of a dam on the Ottawa River.
Prior to that time, the Lake of Two Mountains - which is not a lake, but the delta of the Ottawa River where it meets the St. Lawrence - was popular for swimming and boating by residents of the shoreline town of Hudson, Quebec, including the family of a metallurgical engineer named Gerry Johnson and his wife Louise, whose twin sons’ destiny as world calibre swim coaches was shaped during that time and by a serendipitous chain of events that followed. “They built the dam to generate hydroelectric power, and in doing so they polluted the lake,” recalls Tom Johnson, a veteran coach of nine Olympic Games and the architect of UBC’s revered swim program. “So the community and the yacht club that we belonged to decided that they needed to build a swimming pool because there were a lot of dead fish floating in the water.” The 50-metre outdoor pool became a popular place during the summer months for Tom, his brother Dave and a wiry kid with a big grin named Jack Layton, all of whom were eager participants in competitive swimming and water polo. A couple of years later, when the national swim championships were held in Montreal, some of the competitors came to Hudson to swim a practise, including 1960 Olympian Dick Pound and a national breaststroke champion from Hudson named Alison Glendenning.
“I remember watching through the fence and being pretty intrigued and motivated by what I saw, says Tom. “Our mother asked us if we wanted to go into Montreal to watch the meet. We did and it was a lot of fun so she took us back the next day and again the day after that. That piqued our interest.”
By the end of that summer, a bunch of Hudson kids decided to extend their swimming into the winter, which required Louise Johnson to drive her sons a long distance across the Island of Montreal to the East End Boys Club to train every Friday afternoon. Many of the kids who trained there lived nearby and were at the pool five or six times a week, but in spite of their comparatively limited practise schedule, the Johnson brothers fared well in races the following summer. “It opened our eyes that we could do this more seriously,” says Tom. A couple of years later they moved to the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association, the storied private downtown club that had recruited a new head coach in George Gate, a British-born coach who managed a pool in the tiny BC coastal town of Ocean Falls, where in previous years he had coached Dick Pound and another talented international competitor and future UBC swim coach named Jack Kelso. The subsequent construction of a 50-metre pool in the Montreal suburb of Pointe-Claire proved an even more fortuitous occurrence. Not only was it much closer to Hudson, but its newly formed swim club convinced Gate to sign on as head coach. As charter members of the now-famous Pointe-Claire Swim Club, the Johnson brothers received top-flight innovative continued on page 12
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coaching that included dry-land training, something that Gate’s contemporaries had not yet considered. Training under Gate, and concurrently as varsity swimmers at McGill University, the brothers became serious competitors. Tom entered his first national championship meet in 1966 and by 1972 he was a freestyle finalist in Olympic team trials. Aged 20, and already a graduate of McGill’s Faculty of Commerce, he then decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Recreation Administration at the University of Ottawa and keep swimming. Dave, meanwhile, had also graduated from McGill’s business school, but had yet to determine next steps. “One day George asked Dave what his plans were,” says Tom. “Dave said he didn’t know, so George invited him over to his house for a beer and asked him if he would be interested in coaching. Dave said ‘yeah, I would be interested.’ George said: ‘Good, practise starts in 20 minutes.’ So Dave went to the pool and later that week he phoned me in Ottawa and told me he needed help coaching. I told him I wasn’t interested. Every couple of weeks when I talked to him he kept saying, ‘you’ve got to come and help me.’” Although he kept on with his Master’s program, Tom was increasingly torn over his decision, not to mention frequently offside with some of his teachers, who were riding a wave of interest and government investment in healthy living and physical fitness. The whole idea of the government program the feds had labelled “Participaction” didn’t square with what he had come to believe as a competitive athlete. “I was always getting into arguments with the guys who taught those courses, saying ‘yeah, you can get people to participate, but you’ve got to have somewhere for them to go.’ You can’t just teach people how to swim or play music; you have to help them to develop objectives for what they’re doing and help them move along the pathways to get there.” Meanwhile Dave kept up the phone calls, reminding Tom that Montreal was hosting the 1976 Olympics and that it was an exciting time for sport. His persistence paid off. In January of 1973 Tom joined his brother and Gate in Pointe-Claire. Although the opportunity was golden, the remittance was not. Whether it was the result of being sons of an engineer is not clear, but the Johnson brothers had an intuitive knack for auto mechanics, and particularly for European cars that were popular in Montreal. “We bought crashed Volvos and fixed them,” says Tom. “We had a garage with no heat that we worked in between practises, freezing to death in the winter. We would buy a tank of heating oil for sixty bucks, but when it ran out, we really struggled.” And so it was that from these humble beginnings, and in the shadow of the 1976 Olympic Games, the Johnson brothers’ careers as coaches and key influencers of competitive swimming in Canada took flight, just a short distance downstream from the dam on the Ottawa River.
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New Shores In 1979 Tom Johnson headed west with his wife Marian, a 1972 Olympian he had met in Pointe-Claire. Their destination was Vancouver where Tom was to take up head coaching duties at the Canadian Dolphin Swim Club. Five years later Marian gave birth to the first of four children. After almost a decade of honing his craft as a coach and father, Tom noticed three things that sparked further evolution in his career. The first was how the swimming world had changed by 1988 when the Olympic Games resumed normalcy following the boycott of the Moscow Games in 1980 and a reciprocal snub toward the west by Eastern Bloc countries in Los Angeles in 1984. With a full complement of competitors back in the Olympic pool at the 1988 Games in Seoul, Canada’s results paled in comparison to those of the Montreal games a dozen years earlier. He also noticed that the average age of international medalists from all countries had increased by about four years. His final observation was that long-time Olympic and University of Calgary coach Deryk Snelling had merged the resources of a local swim club with those of the Dinos varsity program, creating a seamless continuum of athlete development from youth competitors to the international stars that were just beginning to peak as University of Calgary students, including 1988 Olympians Steven and Gary Vander Meulen, Tom Ponting and Mark Tewksbury. Coincidentally, Johnson was coaching a pair of international up-and-comers at about the same time in freestyler Turlough O’Hare and backstroke specialist Kevin Draxinger, who as first-year UBC students had also begun working out under Thunderbirds coach, Jack Kelso. Johnson and Kelso began to discuss a partnership that would entail moving the senior part of the Dolphin program to UBC in order to combine resources and establish similar continuity as Snelling had pioneered in Calgary. At first a group of Dolphins parents expressed disapproval with the scheme and staged a failed coup to have Johnson removed, but two years later in June of 1990, he was named head coach and director of swimming for both UBC and the Pacific Dolphin Swim Association, thereby solidifying an
integrated developmental pathway from community clubs to UBC and beyond. As Olympians in 1992, Draxinger and O’Hare were the first in a long line of UBC students to become international competitors, followed closely by 1996 Olympians Jessica Deglau and Sarah Evanetz. Another convincing sign of the program’s overall success appeared in February of 1994 when UBC’s women’s team won the first of three consecutive CIS Championships. Meanwhile, Dave Johnson’s appointment in 1993 as head coach of Canada’s national team program eventually prompted a visit, along with Swimming Canada CEO Harold Cliff, to the office of UBC Athletic Director Bob Philip to ask if UBC might be interested in becoming a national training centre. “The next thing you knew they had signed off on the deal and UBC became the amalgamation of the Dolphins, UBC and Swimming Canada,” says Tom. But, he cautions, partnerships and integrated pathways are meaningless unless the training atmosphere is upbeat and enjoyable. “Having fun in the process doesn’t have to come at the expense of the objective. I like to tell stories and kindle their imaginations about what’s possible, and then facilitate what they are doing rather than being a control freak and powering over them. Let’s face it, training at this level can be brutal, so I have always said, ‘look if we are going to do this, it should be fun.’ That’s why our program is so successful. The kids have a lot of fun doing it. Winning is a lot of fun.”
Current Reflections Coincidentally, the 2015 Big Block Athlete Awards Dinner will take place almost exactly 25 years to the day after Tom Johnson’s 1990 arrival at UBC. In addition to honouring the top student-athletes for the 2014-15 season, the event will also feature the induction into the UBC Sports Hall of Fame of some 125 UBC swimmers who were responsible for 10 consecutive men’s and women’s CIS national championships from 1998 to 2007. The evening will also honour the individual achievements of Olympians Brian Johns and Kelly Stefanyshyn, who during this era combined for 65 CIS medals, 51 of them gold. And finally, the thousand-plus in attendance will salute Johnson for creating the full spectrum of athlete development, the coaching expertise, and the fun that contributed equally to the phenomenon. He has to think hard when asked about special moments along the way. Not surprisingly, the list includes Brent Hayden’s bronze medal in the 2012 Olympics, world records for Brian Johns and Annamay Pierse, and Mark Versfeld’s two gold medals in the 1998 Commonwealth Games and his bronze and silver medals in the World Championships that same year. One suspects that being on deck at nine Olympic Games has been meaningful too,
not to mention the knowledge that he has mentored other top-flight coaches, including Randy Bennett, Derrick Schoof, Steve Price, and Brian Johns, who joined the UBC Swimming roster this past year. As for his induction into the Hall of Fame, he says the honour is magnified many times by the opportunity to share it with so many of his former athletes. “When it comes right down to it, you’re only as good as the people who walk through the door, but we seem to continue to be able to attract the right kind of people. My vision in the early days was to become Stanford north in terms of swimming because Stanford was the penultimate swimming program in the United States at the time I started at UBC. By and large I think we’re there.” ;
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Left: Graduating senior Navid Maschinchi was named Canada West Player of the Year and first team All Canadian. Above After 27 years of coaching and inspiring student-athletes, Marek Jedrzejek is on track for retirement at end of season.
FALL REPORT Under the guidance of first-year head coach Robin D’Abreo, the Thunderbirds women’s field hockey team claimed its fourth-straight McCrae Cup and 16th overall, with a 2-0 victory over the previously unbeaten host Toronto Varsity Blues in the gold medal game of the 40th CIS field hockey championship. Fifth-year midfielder Poonam Sandhu scored the game-winner in the 47th minute. The 2014 CIS allCanadian was also named a member of the tournament XI all-star team along with Rachel Donohoe and Hannah Haughn. The OUA champion Blues came into the match with a perfect 17-0-0 record, including a 3-0 win over UBC in the first game of the tournament. UBC men’s soccer team posted a regular season record of 9-2-1 and appeared similarly poised to add to its impressive list of 13 CIS championship wins and a third consecutive crown, but came up short by a score of 2-0 in a Canada West semi-final against the Alberta Golden Bears. The Birds settled for third place in the conference after defeating Victoria 2-1 in the bronze medal match. First-year UBC defender Chris Serban was named the CIS Rookie of the Year. Fifth year midfielder and Canada West MVP Navid Maschinchi was named a first team All Canadian and defenders Paul Clerc and Bryan Fong were named to the second team. After posting a respectable mark of 6-4-2 in conference play, UBC’s women’s soccer season came to close in a conference quarter final in Langley with a 3-1 loss to defending CIS champion Trinity Western. A search is
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currently under way for a new head coach after Andrea Neil stepped down at the end of the season citing a desire to pursue opportunities outside coaching. Two Thunderbirds football players were named finalists for the nation’s top individual awards. For a second straight season defensive tackle Donovan Dale is the J.P. Metras Award Nominee as the Canada West conference’s Most Outstanding Linemen. The fourth-year Kinesiology student finished second in the Canada West in tackles for a loss with six for 22 yards and third in sacks with three. Rookie receiver and kick returner Marcus Davis was named the Canada West Rookie of the Year and nominee for the Peter Gorman Award. Davis led the Canada West in all-purpose yards (1,293), was the CIS leader in kickoff return average (31.8) and was second in the nation in punt return yards (558). At press time, retiring UBC head track and cross-country coach Marek Jedrzejek was looking ahead to November 22 and Lawrence, Kansas and a chance for his women’s cross-country team to win a third consecutive NAIA Championship. In the meantime, UBC’s Maria Bernard and Jack Williams took home individual titles at the Association of Independent Institutions Cross Country Championship on November 8 in Clinton, Iowa. The pair of fourth-year standouts led UBC to the team title on the women’s side, and a second-place finish on the men’s side.
World University Games silver medalist Alex Janzen.
UBC ROWERS SHINE AT WORLD AND NATIONAL UNIVERSITY CHAMPIONSHIPS Eight UBC Thunderbirds rowing for Canada fought their way to the podium at the World University Rowing Championships in Gravelines, France in September, winning a silver medal in the men’s four and a bronze in the men’s eight. UBC’s Alex Janzen rowed in the four with crewmates from Brock, Princeton and Western, winning a come-from-behind silver medal by rowing back through the field after a slow start. Poland won the event just 2.3 seconds up on the charging Canadians. Current varsity team members Ben Coull, Eben Prevec, Ben de Wit and recent grads Robert Gage and Graeme Blaskovich powered the big boat with crewmates from Brock, Western, Victoria and Harvard to take bronze behind the hosts from France and winners from Great Britain. Angus Todd and Aaron Lattimer partnered with athletes from Queen’s and Western in the lightweight men’s four to win the B Final and finish seventh overall. UBC’s men’s team wrapped up its fall season at Elk Lake in Victoria on November 2 by winning a national championship at the 18th Canadian University Rowing Championship. The Thunderbirds overcame the host Vikes in the team category by four points, while the
women’s team took second place behind the defending champions from Western University. Men’s head coach Mike Pearce and women’s head coach Craig Pond swept Coach of the Year honours.
DAVE BROWN NAMED RUGBY GENERAL MANAGER The recent retirement of Spence McTavish may have left a sizable void in the UBC rugby program, but good news arrived in September with the appointment of BC provincial coach Dave Brown as General Manager of UBC Rugby. The new position will be responsible for both the UBC men’s and women’s programs, with the goal of establishing UBC rugby as the top university program in North America. Brown holds his level 3 National Coaching Certification and is currently working towards his level 4 certification. He has a Bachelor of Physical Education from Loughborough University in England, a Master’s degree from Dalhousie University and a PhD from the University of Alberta. “Our overall goals are focused on the continued growth of our players as individuals and scholars as well as performance enhancement as rugby players through the improvement
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of core technical skills, tactical game understanding and individual strength and conditioning,” said Brown. Brown will also focus on ways to develop the women’s program. He is no stranger to the women’s game having been head coach of the Canadian Women’s National Team, leading them to the first ever Women’s World Cup back in 1991. “If we are going to develop our women’s team we need to have them play together all year long. You can’t just train for six weeks, play a four-game (CIS) regular season schedule and then go away for eight months and expect to see improvement when they come back the next season.” At press time, the Thunderbird men’s side had moved to 3-0 in the Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League standings after defeating the University of Victoria Vikes (2-1) by a score of 30-19 in the first leg of the storied Wightman Boot series. Victoria scored a pair of welldeserved tries in the final five minutes that may prove pivotal in the two-game total-point series that concludes in Victoria on January 17.
COURT PROCEEDINGS This year, T-Birds’ basketball fans will see more of the program’s traditional opponents as a new two-division setup is in place for the Canada West. UBC is now in the 11-school Pioneers Division, which includes Victoria, Alberta, Calgary , Lethbridge and Saskatchewan. The other grouping, the Explorers Division, features recent CIS entrants, including UBC Okanagan, Mt. Royal and MacEwan. 6-foot-9 guard/forward, Conor Morgan has been an imposing presence for the men’s team in early season play. Injured all last season, Morgan averaged 19 points and six rebounds a game in seven pre-season appearances. He is surrounded by an experienced group of players, four of whom (Andrew McGuinness, Tonner Jackson, Brylle Kamen and Tommy Nixon) are fifth year seniors. “Confidence is a big factor,” says coach Kevin Hanson
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Left: Alissa Coulter is volleyball offensive leader so far this season. Right: 6’9” Conor Morgan an imposing presence for T-Birds.
of the senior players. “There is a willingness to compete and compete hard in practice; the motivation is there as is a sense of urgency for those fifth-year guys. They know there’s no tomorrow.” Now in his 15th season, Hanson got his 338th win as the T-Birds’ bench boss October 26 in Guelph, Ontario, surpassing the previous mark of 337 held by the late Peter Mullins. The Thunderbirds struggled in their home opening series, losing twice to division leading Victoria Vikes, but notched their first conference win of the season in Edmonton on November 15 with an 89-84 victory over the Golden Bears. The victory marked Hanson’s 600th career win as a head coach. Deb Huband, meanwhile, is now in her 20th season at the helm of the UBC Thunderbirds women’s basketball program and has a group of players that she feels can win it all in 2015. “Our potential is greater than it has been in the last couple of years,” said Huband, who has more career wins than any coach in Canada West history and three CIS titles. “We have not only more depth this season, but our overall level of play has increased. Part of that is the coming of age of our group with more players being in their third, fourth, and fifth years, but it is also the injection of two
Left: Two-time All-Canadian and 2014 Canada West Player of the Year, Kris Young. Right: Now in his 12 season at UBC, men’s volleyball coach Richard Schick’s team is one of the top teams in CIS so far this year.
standout players who bring their experience and veteran status to the group.” Those two standout players are former NCAA Division 1 players Diana Lee and Kara Spotton. Lee joins the Thunderbirds after graduating from Boise State University. She started three seasons for the Broncos at point guard before red-shirting her final season due to a back injury. She returns to her home province, joining former Handsworth high school teammate Kris Young, a two-time CIS AllCanadian and the Canada West Player of the Year in 2013. Spotton, meanwhile, played two seasons for the Colorado State Rams, starting in 13 games and averaging 5.0 points and 2.6 rebounds in her final season. The first home games for both UBC men’s and women’s teams following the holiday break are January 16 and 17 versus the Brandon Bobcats.
THUNDERBIRD NETWORKS UBC’s men’s volleyball team got off to a stellar start, with a conference mark of 8-2 prior to pair of narrow losses, but a gritty overall performance in a home series against the defending CIS champion Alberta Golden Bears in mid-November. The Thunderbirds were riding a six-game winning streak the previous weekend that ended with a four-game loss to the Manitoba Bisons in Winnipeg. UBC was in second place in the 13-team conference with a record of 8-4 at press time. Now in his 12th season as UBC head coach, Richard Schick has guided the program to the post-season in 10 of the last 11 years, including two trips to the CIS National Championships. UBC will host a special three-match exhibition series January 8, 9 and 10 against Sungkyunkwan University of Seoul, Korea. The Thunderbird women’s volleyball team uncharacteristically stumbled out of the gate with a pair of season opening losses to newcomers MacEwan University in Edmonton but eventually hit their stride to re-enter the CIS top 10 and win a home-court thriller against the No. 1 ranked Alberta Pandas November 14. Doug Reimer began his 18th season as coach without the services of last year’s CIS Player of the Year Lisa Barclay, who suited up for
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Above, graduating team captain Sarah Casorso celebrates during her 100 CIS game. Bottom Right: First year head coach Tyler Kuntz got his first CIS victory over conference leader Alberta Golden Bears on September 27.
Canada along with alumnae Kyla Richey, Marissa Field and Shanice Marcelle at the FIVB women’s world championships in Italy back in September. Barclay saw her first action of the Canada West season against UBC-Okanagan on October 31 only to severely sprain her ankle the following night. UBC was 7-5 in conference play at press time. The first Canada West home matches for both the men’s and women’s teams following the holiday break are January 16 and 17 against Brandon.
ICE BIRDS START TOUGH AGAINST TOP TEAMS A win in pre-season play against the defending CIS champion Alberta Golden Bears was a positive sign for the Thunderbirds under first-year head coach Tyler Kuntz. The subsequent split in their home opening series against the No. 1 ranked Bears was even more encouraging. The 5-2 win over Alberta on September 27 marked the first CIS victory as a head coach for Kuntz, a former blue-liner for UBC from 1999 to 2004 and an assistant coach for the last four seasons. UBC will meet the Saskatchewan Huskies in the first post-holiday series at home on January 16 and 17. With a conference mark of 8-2-2 at press time, the Thunderbirds women’s team hadn’t lost a home game in regulation time in 29 starts until the CIS No. 3 ranked Alberta Pandas handed them a 4-2 loss November 15. In spite of the loss, the Thunderbirds remained in first place in the conference thanks to a series sweep of the Dinos 18 BLUE ; GOLD FALL 2014
the previous weekend in Calgary. Sarah Casorso, Nikola Brown-John and Tatiana Rafter were recognized prior to game two of the Alberta series, with each receiving a golden helmet, a Thunderbird women’s hockey tradition, commemorating their 100th CIS game. The Thunderbirds will host Mount Royal January 9 and 10. ;
NEWS ; NOTES FROM THE BIG BLOCK CLUB
1954 2014 ROWERS RE-LIVE GOLDEN MOMENT Left:UBC rowers at the finish line of 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. Right: The same crew gathered 60 years later with other 1954 Games athletes at new BC Sports Hall of Fame gallery. IT’S DIFFICULT, if not impossible to pinpoint the single
greatest or most significant occurrence in UBC varsity sport history, but an event that took place in August of 1954 on the Vedder Canal just might be it. Racing before a crowd of 12,000 onlookers, UBC’s varsity eight upset the heavily-favoured English crew for gold in the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. Last July, almost exactly sixty years to the day later, the 1954 UBC crew
members gathered at the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame for the opening of a new gallery dedicated to those Games. The crew that kick-started the golden era for rowing consisted of Ken Drummond, Mike Harris, Doug McDonald, Glen Smith, Laurie West, Bob Wilson, Tom Toynbee, Herman Zloklokovits, cox Ray Sierpina and spare Phil Kueber. The legendary Frank Read was the coach and Doug Laishley the manager. ;
HANSON HONOURED BY TRUSTEES THE TRUSTEES OF THE UBC Men’s
Basketball Scholarship Endowment honoured head coach Kevin Hanson prior to the November 8 game against Victoria for becoming the all-time winningest coach in UBC men’s basketball history. On October 26, Hanson led the Thunderbirds to a 77-69 victory over the Guelph Gyphons and surpassed the previous record holder, the late Dr. Peter Mullins, to become UBC men’s basketball all-time leader with 338 wins. In recognition of the milestone, the trustees donated $10,000 to the Marlowe Hanson Memorial Men’s Basketball Award, recently established in honour of Hanson’s father who was a courtside fixture at Thunderbird games before his passing in 2012. David McLean, David Nelson and Ken Woods, the trustees of the UBC Men’s Basketball Scholarship Endowment, along with UBC President Arvind Gupta recognized Hanson at centre court and presented the cheque. ;
Left to right, trustee David McLean, UBC coach Kevin Hanson, UBC President Arvind Gupta, trustees Ken Woods and David Nelson, and assistant coach Vern Knopp. FALL 2014 BLUE ; GOLD
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