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Blue;Gold spring 2012
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On the Cover }
Graduating seniors Rayel Quiring and Kyla Richey take a bite out of one of the five consecutive gold medals the Thunderbirds won in the CIS Women’s Volleyball Championships from 2008 to 2012.
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Message from the Athletic Director
s you can conclude from the cover photo of graduating volleyball players Rayel Quiring and Kyla Richey with their five CIS gold medals, the past year in varsity sport had some historical moments. Although our women’s volleyball team was just one of four UBC teams to win CIS national championships, the fifth consecutive title for Doug Reimer’s team was an amazing , hard-fought accomplishment and one that you can read more about in a feature article in this spring edition of Blue and Gold (Courting Culture, pg 5). This edition also features a section colloquially titled “Evolutionaries,” which portrays two recently formed alumni groups and one close-knit family who have decided to take UBC up on its campaign challenge to “start an evolution.” It’s important to emphasize that there is nothing new about Thunderbird alumni and friends pledging various forms of support over the years, many of whom have already been recognized in the pages of this magazine. More recently, however, we have begun to witness something of a phenomenon in terms of the number of people – alumni and non-alumni alike – who are getting involved for the first time in everything from providing mentorship and career development opportunities to financial
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assistance for student-athletes. For that reason we have devoted much of this edition to illustrating some of the newer ways in which they are helping to make the UBC student-athlete experience as rewarding as possible. We hope you are informed and inspired by their stories, and that you too will consider reconnecting with your university, joining forces with an existing alumni group, or starting an evolution of your own. I am also pleased to report that the long awaited UBC Sports Hall of Fame has officially opened in the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. I hope you will soon have an opportunity to visit the Hall of Fame on event nights or by special appointment, or by going on-line (www.ubcsportshalloffame.com) to see photos, video and biographies of over 125 extraordinary former athletes, teams and builders of sport. On behalf of the Department of Athletics and Recreation, I wish to thank you for your ongoing interest and support, and to also congratulate all of our UBC Thunderbird athletes for making the past season one to remember. Sincerely,
Courting Ever since his arrival in 1994, Doug Reimer’s teams have been at the top of the CIS stack. Even those that didn’t win national championships made indelible marks in the annals of UBC sport history. Then they got even better.
id-way through the final of the 2012 CIS Women’s Volleyball Championship, the chances of UBC winning a fifth consecutive national crown appeared to be fading. Although Doug Reimer’s number two-ranked Thunderbirds had won the first set, they lost the second and third by uncomfortably wide margins to the Alberta Pandas, who had claimed top seed in the nation after defeating UBC the week before in the conference championship. Trailing the Pandas again in the fourth set and seemingly facing defeat, the Thunderbirds went on a 10-3 run to eventually force a fifth set and narrowly turn the momentum in their favour for the remainder of an epic match-up between two of the best teams in CIS history. Anyone who remembers the 1990’s Alberta dynasty years, during which the Pandas won six straight CIS championships, might suspect the most recent victory was a particularly satisfying way to cap off the drive for five. Reimer describes his team of that era as “the Buffalo Bills of women’s volleyball” – frequently in the championship but never a winner. So what changed between then and now that has resulted in UBC switching places with Alberta in the highest echelon of CIS women’s volleyball? To the casual observer, the reasons are difficult to pinpoint, since all the surface indicators appear the same. For its part, Alberta is still guided by take-no-prisoners coach Laurie Eisler, whose roster has been deep with talent for most of the years since she first set foot on the Edmonton campus in 1991. The school’s sterling athletic and academic reputation continues to make it a compelling destination for recruits, and the roots of the sport are as strong as ever in the petroleum province. Not much has changed on the UBC front either. The team in the 1990’s had a plethora of talent more or less equal to that of today, including 2012 UBC Sports Hall of Fame inductee Joanne Ross and All Canadians
Sarah Maxwell and Barb Bellini. Reimer has been at the UBC helm for the better part of 20 years, although he did take a three-year sabbatical to lead the national team. Even that doesn’t explain much though, as he temporarily placed head coaching duties in the capable hands of assistant coach and former national team star Erminia Russo, who adhered to his system and guided the team to the national championship tournament in each of the three seasons she filled in. Reimer explains the additional razor-thin margin in a single word: “confidence.” But where did that confidence come from, and how do successful teams sustain it in the departing wake of every graduating class? Reimer won’t claim any of the credit, but it’s a little tough to believe that the emergent culture of confidence and camaraderie among team members has nothing to do with him. The former University of Victoria All Canadian is modest to the core, but if pressed, will confess that with age comes a certain amount of wisdom. “I had some tough learning when I was coaching the national team,” says Reimer. “I discovered that it’s very difficult to create a team culture when the athletes come from different schools and are only together for a few months at a time. It made me appreciate the opportunity we have as CIS coaches to build culture within our programs.” He says he is also fortunate to have the right kind of support from both the University and from home to acquire the tools of success. He is vocally appreciative of athletic director Bob Philip and associate director Theresa Hanson for enabling him to appoint topflight assistant and volunteer coaches, and for the encouragement of his wife, UBC Political Science Professor Barbara Arneil and their 11-year-old daughter Katie Anne, who rattles off in-depth player statistics to the amazement of all. Still, the road from simply brilliant to officially the best has not been an easy one to navigate. But of all the tough learning he continued on page 6
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Doug Reimer has taken a democratic approach to invoking a culture of confidence, balance and skill among team members.
Courting has undergone between the Buffalo Bills years and today, the most important insight is that successful coaches need to pay attention to the whole person rather than just the athlete. “There are two things that university athletes will quickly figure out,” he says. “One, if you know your stuff, and two, if you care about them beyond what they’re doing on the court. If all you focus on are technical things, you’ll be in trouble.” For that reason, Reimer spends as much time honing his own humanity and nurturing a mutually supportive environment as he does planning offense and defense. Some of his techniques might be considered nonconventional. For example, there are no team captains, but rather a seniors’ committee consisting of fourth and fifth-year players and one junior player selected through a vote. Whenever there is an important decision to make, he takes it to the committee. The democratic approach, he contends, is a critically important element, even when it comes to the delicate matter of selecting new team members. “Feedback from players counts,” he says with noticeable conviction. “We need to know if this person we’re considering bringing in will mesh with the family.” To that end, Reimer and his seniors’ committee weigh matters of character as much as talent. In particular, they look for young players whose skill and confidence will improve through the support of sisterly team mates, and who they also believe will be similarly generous in spirit for future newcomers. By all appearances, the multilateral, long-term approach works well to sustain both technical skills and confidence among all members of the collective. The recent nail-biter against Alberta is a compelling case in point about how skill and confidence pay off when a national title is on the line, but it’s also that same magic combination that keeps the Thunderbirds on top all season long. Invariably, he explains, there are times during the year when even the best teams can experience inklings of doubt. “Having confidence means that even though you feel like you’re failing, you know that you’re going to come out alright in the end,” he says. “The teams that don’t have the same confidence might have this feeling of ‘oh no, here we go again.’”
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Assistant coach Leah Allinger played for Reimer in the late 1990’s, and knows perhaps better than anyone else what a difference a decade makes. The quiet confidence that prevails on the court and in the locker room, she explains, is largely a result of today’s team members being empowered to strike a better balance in their lives, “academically, socially and athletically.” “When I was playing, we were thinking, living and breathing volleyball,” says Allinger. “The team was very good, but at the national championships we were playing in such a desperate way and I think that’s what got us in the end. Emotionally and mentally we were just drained. The difference is that Doug has become an expert in finding balance in his own life and he supports and encourages everyone to do the same. They still get drained at times, but they have freshness about volleyball.” The team’s academic performance corroborates Allinger’s assessment. The average GPA among team members is consistently at the top of all Thunderbird teams, and there have been many examples of extraordinary academic and community service recognition. In addition, the noticeable cohesion among team members goes so far as to be emulated to some degree among parents, who interact frequently and often go the extra distance to provide a measure of assurance to those who don’t reside in the lower mainland. Famed wheelchair athlete Rick Hansen and former Vancouver Canucks coach Marc Crawford are among the active parents and both have taken the time to offer carefully selected and inspiring words to the team, as has BLG Awards (CIS Athlete of the Year) founder Doug Mitchell. And while the off-the-charts culture appears well entrenched, Reimer insists that it can never be considered a fait accompli. The technical aspects of coaching are one thing, but human beings, he notes, are infinitely complex, and the challenges can vary year to year. Even so, the democratic republic that is Thunderbird women’s volleyball has given way to a highly advanced team-state, and one that prevails over even the most capable legions with increasing regularity. Irrespective of what the future holds, it’s safe to assume that recent history won’t soon be forgotten. ;
Above and top right: The long awaited UBC Sports Hall of Fame recently opened for an inductees’ reception. The Hall is located in the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. Bottom right: Five UBC swimmers and two alumni are bound for London Olympics along with former Thunderbirds coach Tom Johnson.
2012 BIG BLOCK AWARDS Some of the best university athletes in the country were front and centre at the 91st annual UBC Big Block Club Awards and Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on April 2. More than 900 people were in attendance at the Vancouver Convention Centre as five CIS Players of the Year, an NAIA golf champion and two outstanding rookies were honoured alongside the latest inductees into the UBC Sports Hall of Fame.
women’s golf, becoming the first Canadian to capture the esteemed U.S. national title. Pendleton won every single award she could en route to winning the 2011 CIS field hockey championship. She was named the Canada West’s MVP, the Liz Hoffman Award winner as CIS MVP, and was then honoured as the tournament MVP after leading the entire event in scoring.
Golfer Andrew Robb won the Bobby Gaul Memorial Trophy as outstanding graduating male athlete for his stellar career at UBC. He led UBC to the NAIA title in 2008 and won the individual competition at the Canadian university championships that same year. Robb has been named an NAIA All-American and First Team All-Canadian three times.
There were also two winners of the Bus Phillips Memorial Trophy for UBC’s outstanding male athlete of the year: football player Billy Greene and 2012 Olympic swimmer Tommy Gossland. Greene won the Hec Crighton Trophy as the best university football player in Canada in 2011. He led the country in passing yards and touchdown-to-interception ratio. He was also the CIS Male Swimmer of the Year after winning five gold medals at the national championships as well as the Sprinter’s Cup.
The May Brown Trophy for outstanding graduating female athlete was shared by swimmer Martha McCabe and volleyball player Kyla Richey. McCabe won the 200-metre breaststroke at the 2011 World Swimming Championships in Shanghai, China and then helped UBC to a CIS title in 2012. She was also the CIS female swimmer of the year in 2010. Richey was named the Most Valuable Player in the Canada West and then won the Mary Lyons Award as the Player of the Year in CIS women’s volleyball. She then capped her career by helping UBC to its fifth consecutive national championship. Golfer Kylie Barros and field hockey star Robyn Pendleton were named co-winners of the Marilyn Pomfret Trophy as the school’s outstanding female athletes of the year. In just her second year, Barros won the 2011 NAIA individual championship in
With four CIS national championship teams in the past season, it was difficult to decide which squad would win the du Vivier Team of the Year Award. But in the end, UBC’s women’s swim team were declared the winners. The team has four Olympians (Savannah King, Tera Van Beilen, Martha McCabe and Heather MacLean) and won the national title by scoring the most points ever at a CIS championship meet. Volleyball player Jarrid Ireland was named the male Thunderbird Rookie of the Year after being named to the CIS All-Rookie team. Van Beilen won the female award after taking home the CIS Rookie of the Year honours. She won two silver medals at the Summer Universiade in China. continued on page 8
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Swimmer Hayley Pipher and rower Alexandra Leask will share the Thunderbird Athletic Council Leadership Award while CIS Female Swimmer of the Year Savannah King won the TAC Performance Award for her outstanding campaign, which included qualification for the 2012 Summer Olympics and five medals at the CIS championships. The Arthur Delamont Service Award went to former UBC swimmer Kevin Johns. His 15 years of contributions to the athletics program includes five CIS titles during his varsity days, and a decade’s worth of service working as a promoter, writer, announcer and head statistician for UBC sports. Women’s hockey trainer Claire Toffelmire was named the winner of the Carolyn Dobie-Smith Award for her dedication and commitment to UBC athletes. In addition to working for women’s hockey, Toffelmire also volunteered her time with the school’s softball and football teams. Kanjee to stay on another year A UBC coaching legend was given a poignant send-off at the Big Block Awards Dinner after the announcement that Thunderbirds women’s field hockey head coach Hash Kanjee is retiring after 19 seasons, eight of which ended with his teams celebrating CIS championships. More recently, however, UBC Athletics announced that Kanjee has been asked to stay on for one final season. Due to the uncertainty of women’s field hockey in the Canada West Universities Athletic Association in the wake of Alberta dropping its program and the overall impact on the sport in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport structure, the three-time CIS Coach of the Year has agreed to stay on one more year in order to provide a smoother transition to the future. London Calling A total of five current UBC Thunderbird swimmers and two alumni have qualified to compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games. The UBC contingent includes CIS Female Swimmer of the Year Savannah King (400 and 800-metre freestyle); CIS Male Swimmer of the Year Tommy Gossland (4x100 metre freestyle relay); World Championship bronze medalist Martha McCabe (200 metre breaststroke); CIS Rookie-of-the-Year Tera Van Beilen (100 and 200 metre breaststroke) and Heather MacLean (4x100 metre freestyle relay). At the recent Olympic trials in Montreal, Van Beilen and McCabe swam the second and third fastest times in the world this year in the women’s 200-metre breaststroke, clocking respective times of 2:24.03 and 2:24.81. “We are very excited that five current UBC Thunderbird swimmers and two of our alumni have qualified for the London 2012 Olympics,” said
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UBC head coach Steve Price, acknowledging former Thunderbirds Scott Dickens and Brent Hayden who are also going to London. “It again shows that by combining the assets of our varsity team, club team and the National Swim Centre, our student-athletes can pursue their international and varsity aspirations at the same time.” Former UBC swim coach Tom Johnson and National Swim Centre colleague Jozef Nagy will be deck as coaches in London, while the National Swim Centre’s Janice Hanan will make the trek as team manager. Former UBC rowing coach Al Morrow also hopes to be coaching athletes in London, pending the outcome of Olympic trials. UBC Track and Field coach Marek Jedrzejek says former Thunderbird high jumper Mike Mason has secured a spot in London after jumping the Olympic ‘A’ standard of 2.31 metres in a recent meet in Guadeloupe, Mexico. Mason took top spot in the recent UBC Open by clearing 2.28 metres, meeting the Olympic ‘B’ standard. Former T-Bird men’s race walker Inaki Gomez has also qualified for the upcoming summer games, while alumna Liz Gleadle, a four-time NAIA champion and current record holder in javelin, is on track to qualify at Canadian Championships in June. PENDLETON NOMINATED FOR BLG AWARD UBC field hockey player Robyn Pendleton capped off her university playing career April 29 and 30 at the 20th Annual BLG Awards in Calgary, which she attended as the Canada West nominee for the Jim Thompson Trophy presented annually to the top female athlete in Canadian Interuniversity Sport. Pendleton got the nod as the Canada West nominee after leading UBC to its 13th CIS title in November. She was named the Most Valuable Player at the national championships as well as the Canada West and CIS Player of the Year. She is currently living in Paris and playing professional field hockey with Cercle Athlétique de Montrouge, France’s 2010 national champions. MASHINCHI and DOSANJH ADDED to WHITECAPS PDL ROSTER Two UBC Thunderbirds men’s soccer players will be joining the Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 squad, which plays in the United Soccer League’s (USL) Premier Development League (PDL). Gagandeep Dosanjh and Navid Mashinchi are among 11 players who were added to the club in late April. Dosanjh and Mashinchi previously played with the club in the PDL as part of the Whitecaps residency program. They were both called up to the Whitecaps first team in 2008, with Mashinchi making one appearance in the USL First Division in 2008 against Charleston Battery. ;
News ; notes from the big block club
Honours Night for Thunderbirds Former UBC hockey player, coach and threetime Olympian Terry O’Malley speaks on behalf of team mates at UBC Sports Hall of Fame induction.
The April 4th Big Block Awards and Sports Hall of Fame Induction Dinner was a festive occasion of sights and sounds of UBC Thunderbirds past and present, but the statement that might have been the most poignant of all went unheard by the 900-plus in attendance. “All for one, and one for all, forever,” said football alumnus David Sidoo to former team mates in the aftermath of the induction of coach, Frank Smith, during which Sidoo and 12 former team mates took the stage to stand behind the rock-solid 80-year-old icon in a convincing display of allegiance. The most successful football coach in UBC history, Smith’s acceptance speech alternately moved the rapt crowd from uplifting hilarity (“I can remember the entire roster of the 1947 New York Yankees but I can’t recall what I had for breakfast”) to stirring solemnity when acknowledging his late son and successor (“God bless you Casey”). Many other moving recollections of yesteryear were offered up, including classically understated remarks by 1963 hockey team member, three-time Olympian and lifetime humanitarian Terry O’Malley. Then there was 1960 oarsman Bill McKerlich, who expressed inexhaustible pride in being part of a scrappy crew of students who came ever so close to winning gold medals in the 1960 Rome Olympics. One of Canada’s top international soccer goaltenders, Pat Onstad, couldn’t make the party due to coaching responsibilities with MSL’s DC United, but his mother and father stood in admirably, particularly when Cindy Onstad reminded some 600 student-athletes of the role their parents likely played in their success.
Former volleyball superstar Tom Jones’ dignified acceptance speech set the tone for those that followed, including that of Richmond Olympic Oval Volleyball Centre of Excellence head coach Joanne Ross, who appeared radiantly overjoyed to be introduced as simply one of the greatest athletes in UBC history. Tracey Lipp-Derheim’s children, husband and parents beamed while the former Canadian Ladies Amateur Golf champion thanked them and her university for supporting what she modestly avoided admitting was a stellar playing career. Current Thunderbird coach Deb Huband graciously accepted on behalf of basketball pioneer Barbara Robertson, and a large crowd of hockey alumni grandly feted former men’s athletic director Rick Noonan, who conveyed fond memories of over four decades of supporting student-athletes. The evening began appropriately with a spectacular sunset upon the floor-to-ceiling windows of the Vancouver Convention Centre, and culminated with the annual athletic awards hardware being handed out to another cadre of extraordinary students. MC and volleyball alumna Emily Cordonier skilfully managed proceedings; associate athletic director Theresa Hanson described a vintage year that included four CIS national championships, and football alumnus Atlee James produced many a celebratory video, including one that tenderly saluted retiring women’s field hockey coach Hash Kanjee. Somewhere in the middle of it all, the announcement that five UBC swimmers had qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games contributed additional continued on page 18
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n September 26 of last year, the University of British Columbia went public with its “start an Evolution” campaign to raise $1.5 billion and double alumni engagement to 50,000 annually within three years. As UBC closes in on the one billion mark in capital raised, a movement towards wider and deeper alumni engagement among former UBC Thunderbirds and friends has become noticeably evident. Not only that, but the trend towards alumni becoming involved in everything from providing mentorship and career development opportunities to financial assistance for studentathletes is gathering momentum. But what exactly is driving the mobilization of former UBC Thunderbirds beyond the university’s current efforts to market its ambitious and apparently successful campaign? It’s likely a combination of factors. First, simple demographics come into play. The baby boomers are easing into retirement with more liquid assets and disposable income than any previous generation. Second, the athletic department’s increased investments in assistant coaches and development staff have enabled more concentrated efforts to collaborate with interested and supportive alumni. Third, the ultra-successful TELUS Millennium Scholarship Breakfast has alerted alumni and the community at large to the potential to keep more of our best and brightest studentathletes in Canada, and the downstream benefits of doing so.
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ry Thought Finally, large scale philanthropy on the part of individuals and influential groups over the course of previous decades has blazed a trail for others by making a significant impact on a growing number of sports in UBC’s varsity portfolio, including rowing, football, golf, baseball and men’s hockey and basketball. The influx of new alumni participants is accompanied by new alliances and new ideas for how to enhance the studentathlete experience for current and future generations. And sometimes, it doesn’t involve a whole lot of money, just a willingness to join forces with groups that have already mobilized, or in some cases, to start a whole new evolution.
Meet some of the modern evolutionaries.
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he day last fall that Elaine Williamson ran into her friend Nancy Self in a Dairy Queen store was not unlike any other, until somewhere during the course of their brief exchange when Self proposed that Williamson become part of a group of women who would, among other things, donate $500 each per year for five years towards an annual scholarship fund for female student-athletes at UBC. Whatever Self said was sufficiently compelling for Williamson to sign up on the spot. Today, they are both part of what has become known as The Twenty-8 Group, a growing collective of influential women from widely diverse backgrounds who have joined forces to invoke a cultural shift – addressing the disparity in privately-funded financial assistance offered to UBC’s female student-athletes in comparison to their male counterparts.
had historically won almost twice as many national championships as men’s teams in spite of having only approximately half as much money endowed for scholarships. The second was a consensus that women will bring great passion to bear in philanthropic situations if they can work collaboratively with others and are equipped with in-depth knowledge and information about what it is they are investing in.
“I was armpit deep in driving my daughters to all of their sports, and so naturally the idea of helping to enhance scholarship support for female athletes appealed to me,” recalls Williamson, a UBC MBA graduate and instructor in the Sauder School of Business. “I had also just started teaching a first-year course and had begun to notice that there were a few Thunderbird athletes in it. Then just at that time, Nancy comes along with this wonderful idea. When she explained what they were doing, why they were doing it and how many incredibly accomplished women were involved, I felt an instant desire to be part of it.”
“Part of the beauty is that it doesn’t require a particularly large investment to get involved, which has made the group accessible to people from many different backgrounds,” says Self, a leadership volunteer to numerous organizations including the Sauder School of Business, the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Vancouver YWCA. “Another appealing aspect of this initiative is that when you support students to combine sport and education, there is an immediate and tangible impact that you can witness right through to its conclusion.”
What began as a small group initially organized by UBC Athletics associate director John Foster and Thunderbird soccer alumna Debbie Butt has grown into a group currently consisting of 36 women (we’re not a club, Self insists) of various ages and backgrounds – alumnae and non-alumnae alike - whose immediate objective is to provide 28 scholarships per year in the amount of $1000 each to two student-athletes from each of the university’s 14 women’s teams beginning this fall. Ultimately, however, the group has longer term objectives in mind, including an endowment to fund scholarships in perpetuity. “What we’re doing today is just a start I hope,” says Self. “The issue deserves a permanent solution.” The key to getting it all started, according to Foster, was gaining a better understanding of where and how to engage women in philanthropy, and specifically, philanthropy aimed at supporting female university athletes. He asked Butt, an accomplished community and public affairs leader, to co-chair a meeting with him in early 2011 to explore where and how to begin. Two things emerged from that initial gathering, the first being the revelation that UBC’s women’s teams
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Foster and Butt came away encouraged from the initial meeting. The first challenge in moving forward, however, was to identify and recruit the right chair to lead the group. Nancy Self was the name that kept coming up, not an altogether surprising occurrence given the fourth-generation Vancouver resident’s credentials in both business and community stewardship, engaging personality and extensive network of friends and associates.
The impact of supporting student-athletes to continue to pursue competitive sport at university is something she is familiar with. While majoring in International Relations in the UBC Faculty of Arts, she was a member of the varsity rowing and tennis teams, where she learned first-hand the stresses student-athletes endure, and the subsequent benefits of the experience. Needless to say, UBC Athletic Director Bob Philip is pleased to have such an influential and committed group beginning to mobilize, explaining that while increasing numbers of alumni are becoming involved with their former teams, the absence of comparable outside support for female teams and athletes is a concern. “I think the fact that they are determined to have their donations flow through to students in the form of financial assistance this coming year is a blessing and a relief,” says Philip. “In terms of administrative and operational support provided by the department, our men’s and women’s teams are evenly resourced, but the imbalance in third-party financial assistance has needed solutions for a long time. For the first time, I’m optimistic that we are going to see lasting change.” continued on page 19
Left to right: Elaine Williamson, basketball player Zara Huntley, Nancy Self and volleyball player Rayel Quiring.
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The UBC Men’s soccer
lthough longrevered as the most successful men’s soccer team in CIS history, it appears that an informal career night recently organized for the current cadre of UBC players by alumni in a downtown boardroom may have been a turning point in the evolution of the nearly century-old program. Long blessed with abundant local talent, decades of expert coaching and now modern all-weather facilities, the only thing arguably missing within today’s team is greater connectivity between the inordinate talent of yesterday and that of today. That may have begun to change, however, thanks to a growing core of former players who have become more active in recent times and appear intent on giving back to the program that was a source of memorable experiences and lasting friendships. The boardroom of top-flight investment firm PH&N was an appropriate setting for the assembly of competitively minded future graduates who had gathered there to discuss career strategies with alumni of varying professions whose playing careers spanned three decades. The entire 25-man roster of registered players and red-shirts showed up on that evening to hear presentations from alumni, including recently retired PH&N vice president Maurice White, who gave his thoughts on the investment business, as did Canaccord Genuity’s Markus Felderer, who played through much of the storied era of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Sporting goods executive James Prescott, one of Felderer’s former UBC teammates, was also on hand to share insight on marketing and sales careers. The more recent graduates included Vancouver based personnel recruiter Brent Dodge; former goalkeeper and now IT specialist
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Julian Phillips, and lawyers Dave Wong and Nick Hopewell. After each had provided succinct verbal overviews, an enthusiastic question and answer session promptly ensued. By all appearances, it was a meaningful encounter on both sides, but UBC coach Mike Mosher could see significant long-term potential in what he had just witnessed. After 16 seasons at the helm, he knew that the team’s consistent success and litany of championships had produced many a dedicated alumnus, but he also knew that the bridges between the team and its living legacy still needed work. To that end, he came up with the simple, but sensible idea to bring players and alumni together to build connections that might open doors in the years ahead. The success of the evening confirmed his hunch that the time to formalize a permanent alumni strategy had arrived. “Our job at the university level is not to just coach teams anymore; it’s to build programs,” says Mosher. “The goal for me in the immediate future is to show the current student-athletes that there’s a bigger picture than just a soccer team. Part of that is ensuring they know that there are a lot of people who’ve been there before and understand what it is they’re doing and are willing to help in whatever way they can, including helping them to start their careers.” A few weeks later, Mosher extended a first-time invitation to alumni to attend the team’s annual awards night, an informal end-ofseason gathering that may have helped to further galvanize a core group and strengthen its resolve to support students who have followed in their boot-steps. “Being on a team can create a strong bond amongst a group, but winning a championship is
like super-glue,” says Mosher, who played on three national championship squads from 1989 to 1991. For that reason, it wasn’t particularly difficult to pull together a nucleus of supportive alumni upon which to build, and which at last count was approximately 25 in number. One of the first to step forward was White, who played in the 1970’s for head coach and former Glasgow Ranger Joe Johnson. The timing may have been perfect for White, whose association with UBC and its varsity athletic program had recently become an intergenerational family affair. His wife Stacy played varsity field hockey while studying for degrees in the Faculty of Education and their recently graduated son Alex, now working as an investment banking analyst on Bay Street, played second base for the Thunderbirds baseball team while attending the Sauder School of Business.
Left to right: Alumnus Maurice White, current players Gagan Dosanjh and Matt Allard, and alumnus Nick Hopewell.
“Looking back on it, UBC was a good place for all of us,” says White. “Obviously with the success the soccer program has had over the years, there are a lot of guys like us who had great experiences and are now in a position to give something back. We just have to do a little more work to identify a few more of them and get them involved.” Hopewell is unquestionably one who wants to be involved. A native of Sheffield, England, soccer is bred in Hopewell’s bones. He played two seasons for UBC while studying law and came within a hair’s breadth of a CIS national crown as a forward on the 1997 team that lost in penalty kicks to McGill in the final. He still has fire in his eyes when he talks about playing days, and in spite of being a relatively recent graduate,
he has obvious conviction about giving back. “I think that we have a certain responsibility to contribute,” says Hopewell. “The reason is that as athletes we benefited far more from our education than students who were there purely for academic purposes.”
including Brian Petersen, whose long-time allegiance and yearover-year generosity strengthen Mosher’s theory about the bonding power of success. Petersen played for the Thunderbirds during a vintage era highlighted by three consecutive national championships from 1984 to 1986.
Hopewell doesn’t mince words when discussing what he hopes lies ahead. “The first objective is to get guys to recognize that they have a duty to do what they can to help out. The second is to get enough of them to actively buy in so that the group is large enough to be sustainable over the longer term, and the third is a pot of money.”
If long-term financial support does eventually materialize, Mosher can think of a lot of ways to optimize new funds, particularly for scholarships, non-conference travel and assistant coaches. For the time being though, he is satisfied to simply have his players understand that indeed there is a bigger picture, and it includes accomplished alumni who are standing behind them in increasing numbers, bonded by commonality of purpose and the “superglue” of winning. ;
Although a pot of money is a longer-term objective, Mosher is quick to point out that a handful of alumni have already pledged gifts,
Editor’s note: Alumni who are interested in being involved in supporting Thunderbird men’s soccer are in vited to con tact Nick Hopewell (n email@example.com).
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The Brett Family
ne of the effects of UBC closing in on 100 years old is that there are today more students than ever before who are following in the academic footsteps of previous family generations. Almost every team at UBC now has at least one member whose mother, father or grandparents also attended UBC, and in an increasing number of instances, also played on the same varsity team. So does intergenerational commonality of education and experience strengthen a family’s allegiance towards their university? Former Thunderbird volleyball player Rob Brett says that it does. Rob is a second generation alumnus who played as a middle blocker from 1979 to 1984 while studying toward a Bachelor of Commerce degree. In the fall of 1981, he met an Arts student named Vicky Peters, whom he later married. Today, they have two sons, both gifted students and athletes. Liam is going into his second year in the Sauder School of Business and their older son Cary is graduating in Kinesiology this spring after five years of playing the same position for UBC as his father and wearing the same jersey number. The sum total of these experiences is that UBC has factored mightily in the lives of the Brett family, so much so that they have made plans for a family legacy to provide perpetual financial support for future Thunderbird volleyball players. “I’m very passionate about volleyball, and specifically about UBC volleyball,” says Rob, who received his CA designation after graduating and is now a partner and chief financial officer of Burnaby based Mott Electric GP. “Playing on the Thunderbirds for five seasons was very good for Cary too, so we decided to put some funds back in the place we came from. The truth is that UBC still means a great deal to all of us.” While fond memories and a sense of gratitude may have influenced the decision to create a family legacy, the trick to getting it done is as strategic and pragmatic as it gets. With his CA background, Rob has considerable expertise in optimizing finances and tax planning. Working with UBC Gift and Estate Planning, he has put a plan in place on behalf of himself, Vicky and Cary to establish a scholarship endowment for future volleyball players. There are two parts to his strategy. The first is a planned giving agreement with UBC, by which each of the three family members’ wills direct a portion of the respective estate to the Brett Family Men’s Varsity Volleyball Scholarship Endowment Fund, which
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will substantially reduce estate tax. The second component is that each will specifies that estate funds are to be used to support the athletic department’s annual TELUS Millennium Breakfast, which will thereby double the size of the gift through a matching agreement with the University, one that since 2000 has resulted in almost $4 million of matching funds from the popular event going into athlete scholarship endowments. “I think that we all have a responsibility to give back in whatever way we can,” says Rob, who played for coach Dale Ohman on a team that had a taste of international competition and boasted some of Canada’s top players, including national team members Brad Willock, Paul Thiessen and Chris Frehlick. The highlight was the 1982-83 season, when Ohman’s uber-talented squad defeated the perennial powerhouse Manitoba Bisons to win the CIAU Championship and came close to repeating a year later, finishing with silver medals after again meeting Manitoba in the final. Although Rob’s final match as a Thunderbird was a disappointing loss in a championship final, it capped off a stellar playing career in an era that remains a high-water mark in the history of the sport at UBC. “We had a good group of guys in those years,” he says understatedly. “We travelled a lot together and went through some ups and downs, but overall it was a terrific experience. There is still good camaraderie among us.” The success and camaraderie of his father’s team remained top of mind for Cary throughout his UBC playing career, thanks to a photograph he taped to the door of his locker of the 1983 team with the national championship banner. Vicky knows all of the faces and names from that picture, having spent many an evening at War Memorial Gym and taken part in the social life that evolved among team members and friends. They were good years, she says, and laughs when recalling the day she and a girlfriend first clapped eyes on Rob and basketball player Jamie Boyle sitting together in a third-year class. Now, after another five seasons in War Memorial Gym watching Cary play, she has an inordinately keen understanding of the student-athlete experience, which she insists is more challenging today than ever before. “The cost of tuition in my first year at UBC is the same as what it costs Cary to park his car today,” says the retired teacher shaking her head slowly. “I can’t imagine what it must be like for students who are trying to go to university today without some form of financial assistance. They just can’t do it.”
War Memorial Gym is a familiar place for Rob and Vicky Brett and graduate son Cary.
Legacy Although the plan is a longterm one, Rob also remains committed in the here and now to his belief in giving back “in whatever way you can.” To that end, he has coached kids’ teams in a variety of sports including club volleyball, with Cary frequently stepping in to assist as he prepares to enter UBC’s Teacher Education program this fall. Rob is also part of an emerging volleyball alumni group spearheaded with 1970’s alumnus Ian Gregory and 1990 All Canadian Rob Hill, which has collectively committed to five years of scholarship support for current players. He hopes that the group will soon see growth in numbers and activities, including possibly a golf tournament later this summer and some form of supportive interaction with team members. As for what the distant future holds, no human can be certain. But in the meantime, the Brett family can enjoy the satisfaction of knowing they will leave things a little better than how they found them. And while they admit that the results of their vision and generosity may not be tangible in this life, they are unwavering in their conviction to leave something behind for future generations. “You may never know the outcome,” says Vicky. “But does it really matter?” ;
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News ; notes from the big block club continued from page 9
wow factor, symbolically within mere metres of the Vancouver 2010 cauldron. All in all, the year-ending soiree was one for the ages. Eight days later, UBC Athletics associate director of development Steve Tuckwood threw open the doors of the long awaited UBC Sports Hall of Fame in the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre and welcomed a crowd of some 100 inductees and guests. Within the hall’s confines now rests photos and memorabilia of a century of varsity sport, unifying for posterity the collective footsteps of an amazingly diverse body of extraordinary alumni – “all for one, and one for all, forever.” For more information on the UBC Sports Hall of Fame or to arrange a tour, contact Steve Bell Irving (firstname.lastname@example.org) or 604822-6183. HINDMARCH, NEIL AND WATSON HEAD FOR THE HALLS Former athletic director, hockey coach and Bobby Gaul Award winner Bob Hindmarch is one of five inductees recently named to the BC Hockey Hall of Fame. Dr. Bob is joined in the Class of 2012 by former NHL players Scott Niedermayer and Rob Brind’Amour; BC Hockey Hall of Fame co-founder Scott Carter, and long-time broadcaster Jim Hughson. The official induction ceremony will take place on July 27 at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton. Bob served as head coach of UBC’s hockey team for 12 seasons and his 214 victories is the most for any Thunderbirds hockey coach. Last fall, soccer alumna Andrea Neil became the first female soccer player to be inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. The former CIS MVP and UBC Sports Hall of Fame member played a record 132 times for Canada and appeared in four World Cups. Come June, Andrea will enter yet another Hall of Fame, the Canadian Soccer
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Hall, along with former men’s team alumnus Mark Watson. At the international level, Mark represented Canada at one FIFA Confederations Cup, four cycles of FIFA World Cup qualifiers, three CONCACAF Gold Cups and one North American Nations Cup. His 34 matches in FIFA World Cup qualifiers still ranks second all-time in Canadian team history. A hardnosed defender, Mark made 78 appearances overall on the national team between 1991 and 2004. His club career included stints in Canada, the MLS, England and Sweden. SASAKI AND NISHIO RECEIVE DEGREES AT LAST “Two tall men from the RCMP took my dad away. They were dressed in plain clothes. It was awful. It changed our lives forever,” says Japanese Canadian former UBC soccer player Fred Sasaki, now 93 and a retired business executive living in Scarborough, Ont. Fred and former UBC rugby player Tom Nishio were both students at UBC up until February of 1942 when they were forced to withdraw from classes due to the internment of Japanese-Canadians in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbour. Fred and Tom were among the 76 former Japanese Canadian students who were granted honourary degrees at a special congregation ceremony on May 30. UBC athletics associate director Steve Tuckwood caught up to Fred at his home in advance of the big day, and said that he proudly modeled his 1941 Big Block sweater and told him he was looking forward to his long overdue graduation day. MILESTONES As always, there is some sad news to report from the Big Block Club. Former gridiron great Gordon Hogarth passed away aged 85 on February 10. A native of Saskatoon and a popular and successful engineer in Vancouver, Gordie was
one of the first UBC graduates selected to play on a CFL team. He played as a lineman for UBC from 1946 to 1950 and then signed on for a season with the Calgary Stampeders in 1950. Reg Clarkson, who played a season for the Edmonton Eskimos in 1949 and was later traded to Calgary for former Alberta lieutenant governor Normie Kwong in 1951, passed away on April 16 at the age of 86. Reg was a member of the BC, Victoria and UBC Sport Halls of Fame in recognition of an amazing and eclectic athletic career. He arrived at UBC in 1944 and was a star member of the Thunderbirds football, hockey and basketball teams, including the 1946 basketball team that won the US Pacific Northwest Conference Championships. In 1946 he signed on for a season of professional basketball with the Vancouver Hornets. The following summer, he signed a professional baseball contracts with the Vancouver Capilanos. A year later he moved to Fort Worth, Texas to play for a minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Former athletes and Physical Education alumni were recently saddened by the passing of longtime basketball coach and Physical Education professor Peter Mullins, on April 12 at age 86 in Sydney, Australia. Mullins is still the longest serving men’s basketball coach in the history of the sport at UBC (27 years) and widely regarded as the most successful. He won 337 games against both Canadian and American competition in two decades as head basketball coach. His teams won the Western Canadian university championship seven times between 1963 and 1975 and the Canadian university championship in 1970 and 1972. Former director of the School of Physical Education (now Kinesiology) and professor emeritus Bob Morford completed his altogether remarkable journey on March 27 at the age of 82. Born continued on page 19
The Twenty- Group continued from page 12
In order to hasten that change, Philip has pledged to formalize direct governance linkages with The Twenty-8 Group in order to facilitate effective communication and information sharing. He has also pledged funds from athletic department facility and program revenue to match all the money the group raises in its first year, effectively assuring the objective of scholarships for 28 athletes in the coming academic year. The only immediate concern is developing criteria for the awards, although there appears to be consensus that at least one per team will be based on grade-point average.
mentorship and career development linkages. If so, the potential for meaningful interaction between female athletes from every sport and faculty and a collective of likeminded influencers from a wide range of sectors and professions would further underscore the wisdom of the commitment to accessibility.
Exactly what happens next is still wide open for discussion, but if the group follows a trend among other alumni supporters, the next most likely phase of its evolution would be to establish various forms of connectivity to UBC student-athletes, including
“When I think about what we’re doing, I have this image of an hourglass in my mind,” Williamson says thoughtfully. “Here we are, this group of diverse women funnelling help to another group of equally diverse younger women. It’s really quite wonderful.” ;
Editor’s n ote: For further in formation about The Twen tY-8 Group or an y other Thun derbird alumn i organ ization, please con tact John Foster (john .email@example.com) or 604-822-6632.
News ; notes from the big block club continued from page 18
in Malaya, Bob arrived at UBC in a circuitous fashion in 1952 where he met rugby coach Albert Laithwaite, who convinced him to come out for the team. Bob was not only a star player for Laithwaite, he was among the first class of graduates in the School of Physcial Education’s Master’s degree program in 1957, after which he pursued doctoral studies and a long career of scholarly distinction in Kinesiology in the USA, Canada and Malaysia. He took over as director of the school from the pioneering Bob Osborne in 1978 and was responsible for significant expansion of the school’s academic programs and sport services, including Athletics, Recreation and Intramural Sports.
Sohen “Tommy” Biln’s passing just days before he was to have been inducted into the UBC Sports Hall of Fame drew a reverent moment of silence at the April 2 Hall of Fame inductions. Biln was a member of the 1960 rowing crew that won silver medals at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games. The hesitating voice of Bill McKerlich during a poignant acceptance speech exemplified the sorrowful moment for Biln’s former crewmates. Finally, another Thunderbird turned CFL pro, Wayne Aiken, died on April 27 aged 76 in Calgary. The Kingston, Ontario native began his football career as a quarterback for Frank Gnup’s Thunderbirds in the mid 1950’s. After graduating he played as a defensive halfback in the 1959 and 1960 seasons for the Calgary Stampeders. ;
Homecoming Football Game UB C v s S a s k at c h e wa n Saturday, September 15, 2:00 pm
Thunderbird Stadium F o r c o m p le t e s c h edule : www.g o t h u n d e r b i r d s .u b c . c a
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