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BLUE;GOLD WINTER 2016

EDITOR DON WELLS DESIGNER SHARM THIAGARAJAH

BLUE;GOLD THE LINEUP

PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY BOB FRID

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RICHARD LAM WILSON WONG

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BLUE+ GOLD is published twice a year by the UBC Department of Athletics and is distributed free of charge to UBC Alumni and friends.

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UBC Department of Athletics 272 – 6081 University Blvd. Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z1 email to don.wells@telus.net

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MESSAGE FROM THE VICE PRESIDENT STUDENTS

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A MARCH OF HISTORY

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CONNECTING WITH COACH K

BLUE;GOLD G OT H U N D E R B I R D S. C A

VOLUME 12, ISSUE 1 • PRINTED IN CANADA BY RR DONNELLEY

WINTER 2016

CANADIAN PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT #41473026

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ON THE COVER }

SCORES, NEWS & EVENT INFO:

GOTHUNDERBIRDS.CA

Jordan Jensen-Whyte.

PHOTO BY RICHARD L AM


MESSAGE

FROM THE VICE PRESIDENT STUDENTS

elcome to the winter 2016 edition of Blue and Gold. As UBC celebrates its 100th anniversary year, it has been thrilling and gratifying to witness so many of our teams make new entries into our university’s sport history. The results of this past fall season were nothing short of extraordinary, even within the context of 100 years of excellence in varsity sport. An event that took place at Thunderbird Stadium on November 15 is a significant case in point. It was on that day that our women’s soccer team won the 100th Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championship for a UBC team. That win followed closely on the heels of a fifth consecutive CIS Championship for our women’s field hockey team. Then on November 28, the Thunderbirds football team won its fourth Vanier Cup Championship and the university’s 101st CIS Championship in front of a national television audience. Clearly it was a time for celebration among thousands of members of our university community, both at home and abroad. In addition to national titles, the Thunderbirds also took pride in our other national podium finishes in men’s soccer, women’s and men’s rowing, and women’s cross country. I hasten to point out that, in addition to the abovementioned national titles and podium finishes, UBC teams also won five Canada West conference championships this fall – men’s and women’s swimming, men’s and women’s soccer, and football. The fall highlights also included a UBC win over Oxford University at the inaugural World University Rugby Cup, which featured eight universities from leading rugby nations. That victory secured a third-place finish in the tournament for our Thunderbirds – a superb result against the world’s finest university rugby teams. Men’s rugby “return to excellence” was sealed through their victory in the Mainland Cup Premier League final in early December. Finally, it was with equal pride that we recently honoured 136 students as Academic All Canadians, a record number for our varsity athletics program. These students, who represented all faculties, were recognized for maintaining a GPA in excess of 80 % in full-time studies while competing for varsity teams in the 2014-15 academic year. Their achievements, both as athletes and scholars, underscores in compelling fashion that UBC is a destination for increasing numbers of our nation’s best and brightest student-athletes, and for a similarly increasing number from other countries.

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Tempting as it may be to rest on our laurels at such an extraordinary time, we will pause for celebration only momentarily before resuming work to implement a strategic framework that will guide our Thunderbirds program, and more specifically, will enable us to enhance our strengths while at the same time addressing areas for improvement. The framework identifies a bold vision: UBC Vancouver will be Canada’s Leading Athletics Program - a centre of excellence for Intercollegiate and High Performance Sports, where studentathletes can achieve their full potential. The Thunderbirds will be central to campus life and the student experience, building UBC pride, community engagement and UBC’s reputation. But the strategic framework is more than a bold vision – it also outlines the pillars and foundations necessary to further establish UBC Vancouver as Canada’s Leading Athletics Program, and provides a framework for decision-making to help us achieve that vision. After receiving input from studentathletes, alumni, coaches, student leaders, staff, and partners, I am pleased to report that our strategic framework was enthusiastically approved by UBC’s Board of Governors in late November. Meanwhile our search has begun for a new Senior Athletics Director, a posting that will require a seasoned leader who shares our vision and has the skills to inspire our coaches and staff members to achieve key objectives. As to the immediate future, there is still much to look forward to in this 100th anniversary season, including the ZLC Millennium Scholarship Breakfast February 23 and the CIS Final Eight Men’s Basketball Championships, which take place March 17-20 at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. The Athletics staff and I look forward to seeing as many alumni, students and friends of the University as possible at these events, and to joining you to cheer on our Thunderbirds as they compete for further podium finishes. On behalf of UBC, I extend warmest congratulations to our amazing student-athletes for distinguishing themselves and their university during this historic centenary season. I also wish to convey our sincere thanks to the many alumni, parents, friends, donors, partners and staff who have supported them in their inspirational quest for excellence.

Sincerely, DR. LOUISE COWIN V I C E PR ESID EN T S T UD EN T S UBC AT HL E T I C S A ND R EC R E AT ION


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Jubilant Thunderbirds celebrate Vanier Cup victory, the fourth in team history and the first since 1997.

THERE WERE SOME APPROPRIATELY HISTORICAL MOMENTS IN VARSITY SPORT this past fall as UBC officially began celebrating its centennial anniversary. The season began with a spectacular debut of a new era in UBC Thunderbirds football, as a record crowd took in the September 12 Homecoming Game and a 27-20 victory for the Thunderbirds over the Regina Cougars. Playing under first year coach Blake Nill and led by freshman sensation quarterback Micheal O’Connor, the Thunderbirds got stronger on both offense and defense as the season went on, culminating in a thrilling Vanier Cup championship over the Montreal Carabins, November 28 in Quebec City. With only a second remaining and the score tied

between the Thunderbirds and the defending Vanier Cup champions, UBC kicker Quinn van Gylswyk nailed a 20-yard field goal to seal a 26-23 win. In addition to being UBC’s fourth Vanier Cup Championship, the game included a historical footnote in that it marked the first time in the 51-year history of the Vanier Cup in which the both of the game’s individual player awards (Ted Morris MVP and Bruce Coulter outstanding defensive player) both went to first-year student athletes – UBC’s O’Connor and defensive back Stavros Katsantonis. But the Vanier Cup win was only one of three CIS national championships for UBC Thunderbird teams this past fall. The women’s field hockey team got the banner rally rolling

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swimming, men’s and women’s soccer and football. Could things have gone any better for UBC in the fall of 2015? Turns out they could, and did.

in early November, winning a fifth consecutive CIS National Championship and the 17th overall for the sport at UBC, not to mention the 99th all-time CIS championship for UBC teams. With the Thunderbirds women’s soccer team winning the Canada West championship on the same weekend, and as host team for the 2015 CIS Women’s Soccer Championships the following week, the stage was set an extraordinary coincidence - a 100th CIS national

championship victory during the university’s 100th anniversary, and on home turf to boot. Playing under firstyear coach Marisa Kovacs, the Thunderbirds claimed the 100th crown in convincing manner, with a 3-0 victory over Trinity Western in the tournament final before a crowd of some 1,300 at Thunderbird Stadium. The men’s team meanwhile came within a hair’s breadth of accomplishing a companion banner on the same weekend in Toronto. Under Canada

West Coach of the Year Mike Mosher, the Thunderbirds’ only loss on the entire season came at an inopportune moment, on penalty kicks in a CIS Championship semi-final to host York. The Thunderbirds went on to claim the bronze medal the following day in a 2-0 win over Université du Québec à Montréal. Overall, of the seven CIS fall sports in which UBC competes, Thunderbird teams won five Canada West conference championships, in men’s and women’s

In September the men’s rugby team traveled to England for the first-ever World University Rugby Cup, hosted by Oxford University The tournament featured eight universities from leading rugby nations with UBC being the lone North American representative. Despite a number of key injuries, UBC played a strong and controlled game to beat Oxford 18-14 to finish the tournament in third place – a superb result against the world’s finest university rugby teams. The Varsity XV followed that up in November with a pair of victories in a two-game home-and-away series against the Seattle Saracens, a club recently ranked number one in the US. Men’s rugby “return to excellence” was further sealed through their victory in the Mainland Cup Premier League final in early December.

Opposite page left: Interim UBC President Martha Piper presents Academic All Canadian certificate to Track athlete Tanya Motsi. Top: Brandon Deschamps rushed for over 1000 yards during 2015 Vanier Cup winning season; middle: CIS Champion Women’s Field Hockey; bottom: CIS Champion Women’s Soccer. Above: Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson was named Canada West Female Swimmer of the Year; Women’s crosscountry team finished second in NAIA Championships; Charlie Thorpe and his team mates toasted big wins this fall including a victory over Oxford in the inaugural World University Rugby Cup. WINTER 2016 BLUE ; GOLD

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LOCKERR OOMROOM LOCKER 2016 WINTER SCHEDULE HIGHLIGHTS (HOME GAMES, ALL TIMES LOCAL) CANADA WEST WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

CANADA WEST WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL

WAR MEMORIAL GYM

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Fri Jan 8 vs Lethbridge 6:00 PM

Fri Jan 15 vs Brandon 6:00 PM

Sat Jan 9 vs Lethbridge 5:00 PM

Sat Jan 16 vs Brandon 5:00 PM

Fri Jan 22 vs Regina 6:00 PM

Fri Feb 5 vs Thompson Rivers 6:00 PM

Sat Jan 23 vs Regina 5:00 PM

Sat Feb 6 vs Thompson Rivers 3:00 PM

Fri Feb 19 vs Winnipeg 6:00 PM

Fri Feb 12 vs Saskatchewan 6:00 PM

Sat Feb 20 vs Winnipeg 5:00 PM

Sat Feb 13 vs Saskatchewan 5:00 PM

CANADA WEST MEN’S BASKETBALL

CANADA WEST MEN’S VOLLEYBALL

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Fri Jan 8 vs Lethbridge 8:00 PM

Fri Jan 15 vs Brandon 7:30 PM

Sat Jan 9 vs Lethbridge7:00 PM

Sat Jan 16 vs Brandon 6:30 PM

Fri Jan 22 vs Regina 8:00 PM

Fri Feb 5 vs Thompson Rivers 7:30 PM

Sat Jan 23 vs Regina 7:00 PM

Sat Feb 6 vs Thompson Rivers 5:00 PM

Fri Feb 19 vs Winnipeg 8:00 PM

Fri Feb 12 vs Saskatchewan 7:30 PM

Sat Feb 20 vs Winnipeg 7:00 PM

Sat Feb 13 vs Saskatchewan 6:30 PM

March 17-20 CIS Final Eight (Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre)

NAIAW BASEBALL

Tickets at gothunderbirds.ca/cisfinal8

THUNDERBIRD PARK

Fri Mar 4 vs Corban College 12:00 PM (DH) CANADA WEST WOMEN’S HOCKEY

Sat Mar 5 vs Corban College 11:00 AM (DH)

DOUG MITCHELL THUNDERBIRD SPORTS CENTRE

Fri Mar 11 vs Lewis-Clark State 2:00 PM

Fri Jan 8 vs Mount Royal 7:00 PM

Sat Mar 12 vs Lewis-Clark State 1:00 PM (DH)

Sat Jan 9 vs Mount Royal 3:00 PM

Sun Mar 13 vs Lewis-Clark State 11:00 AM

Fri Jan 15 vs Alberta 7:00 PM Sat Jan 16 vs Alberta 3:00 PM

MEN’S RUGBY

Fri Feb 5 vs Regina 7:00 PM

GERALD MCGAVIN UBC RUGBY CENTRE

Sat Feb 6 vs Regina 7:00 PM

January 16 vs Victoria 2:30 PM (Boot Cup) March 20 vs Cal Berkeley 1:00 PM (World Cup game two)

CANADA WEST MEN’S HOCKEY DOUG MITCHELL THUNDERBIRD SPORTS CENTRE

WOMEN’S SOFTBALL

Fri Jan 22 vs Saskatchewan 7:00 PM

SOFTBALL CITY, SURREY

Sat Jan 23 vs Saskatchewan 7:00 PM

Fri Mar 18 vs Northwest Christian 1:30 PM (DH)

Fri Jan 29 vs Lethbridge 7:00 PM

Sat Mar 19 vs Corban 11:00 AM (DH)

Sat Jan 30 vs Lethbridge 7:00 PM

Fri Apr 1 vs Carroll 1:30 PM (DH)

Fri Feb 12 vs Manitoba 7:00 PM

Sat Apr 2 vs Great Falls 11:00 AM (DH)

Sat Feb 13 vs Manitoba 7:00 PM

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FALL SEASON SUMMARY 2015 FALL CIS CHAMPIONS WOMEN’S FIELD HOCKEY, WOMEN’S SOCCER, FOOTBALL

2015 FALL CANADA WEST CHAMPIONS WOMEN’S SOCCER; MEN’S SOCCER; WOMEN’S SWIMMING; MEN’S SWIMMING; FOOTBALL

WOMEN’S RUGBY: GILLIAN BOAG, CIARA MALONE FOOTBALL: ALEX MORRISON, QUINN VAN GYLSWYK

CIS ALL CANADIANS WOMEN’S FIELD HOCKEY: HANNAH HAUGHN WOMEN’S SOCCER: JASMIN DHANDA MEN’S SOCCER: CHAD BUSH, GAGAN DOSANJH

2015 FALL CANADA WEST ALL-STARS

WOMEN’S RUGBY: GILLIAN BOAG

WOMEN’S FIELD HOCKEY: ROWAN HARRIS, SARAH

FOOTBALL: QUINN VAN GYLSWYK

KEGLOWITSCH, GABBY JAYME, HANNAH HAUGHN WOMEN’S SOCCER: JASMIN DHANDA MEN’S SOCCER: CHAD BUSH, BRYAN FONG, CHRIS SERBAN,

HARRY LAKHAN, GAGAN DOSANJH, SEAN EINARSSON

NUMBER OF ACADEMIC ALL CANADIANS: 136* *DENOTES GPA ABOVE 80% IN 2014-15 ACADEMIC YEAR

UBC THUNDERBIDS PRESENT

Join us as we celebrate a century of success and support our extraordinary student athletes. For 100 years, UBC Thunderbirds have excelled and created outstanding leaders in our community. Help us carry the tradition forward at this year’s ZLC Millennium Breakfast. REGISTER NOW @ WWW.GOTHUNDERBIRDS.CA/BREAKFAST WINTER 2016 BLUE ; GOLD

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A MARCH

PHOTO BY MARTIN DEE

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BY DON WELLS

We’re not taking the host berth lightly. We want to win our division and peak in March.” UBC MEN’S BASKETBALL COACH KEVIN HANSON knows the importance of home-court advantage, especially at playoff time. Although it was a long time ago, he remembers like only yesterday how the boisterous crowd at War Memorial Gym and the familiarity of the floor helped carry him and his teammates to victory in the 1987 Canada West Championship final. Before electrified capacity crowds, the Thunderbirds swept the best-of-three series in two games, ending the seven-consecutive-year national championship reign of the Victoria Vikes, a hitherto unstoppable squad coached by UBC alumnus Ken Shields, who then doubled as helmsman of Canada’s national team and appeared to have established Victoria as the capital city of Canadian university basketball. “I still have that vision in my mind of people in the stands rushing out onto the floor,” said Hanson, who back then was a hard-driving fifth-year point guard and team captain. The 1987 roster also included national team member Paul Johansson and a trio of freshman phenomes named JD Jackson, Al Lalonde and Mike Clarke. Under secondyear coach Bruce Enns, the team travelled to Halifax the following week and put on a similarly impressive show all the way to the CIS championship final, where their flight ended in a six-point loss to the Brandon University Bobcats. In spite of falling a stride short, the team made a memorable footnote in Thunderbirds basketball history. “Somebody had to shoot that big bad wolf and we finally did it,” said Enns to a reporter following the win in game two over Victoria. Indeed. His team had not only eliminated a nagging nemesis, they also put up one of the most captivating displays of athleticism in War Memorial Gym history, including that of 17-year-old Jackson, who led the offensive charge with 30 points. As UBC prepares to play host to the 2016 CIS Final 8, that vision is again playing in Hanson’s minds-eye. But even though his team has a guarantee to compete for a national title by virtue of a host berth, he is acutely aware that finishing the job for the first time in 44 years will be anything but a slam dunk, even with home court on their side. On the contrary, he and many other coaches contend that there can be added pressure when playing at home. “No question that expectations are higher when you’re playing at home, but we’re dealing with that,” said Hanson, who completed his UBC Master’s Degree in the realm of Sport Psychology. “We’re not taking the host berth lightly. We want to win our division and peak in March.”

But even if the Thunderbirds are able to peak at the right time, they still have to adjust to a new venue just like the other seven finalists in the CIS Final 8, which goes March 17-20 at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. For that reason Hanson had the new floor temporarily installed in the championship venue for a pre-season tournament that featured CIS teams from outside Canada West, and thereby simulated the look and feel of pan-Canadian competition. In the meantime there appears to be no question that the stage is already set for what promises to be a dramatic second half of the schedule, never mind the February fever that takes over when the top teams from Winnipeg to Victoria battle for division and conference supremacy and the right to carry on down the road to Point Grey where the national crown awaits. Adding to the drama for long-time fans and alumni is the knowledge of what took place the last time UBC hosted the national championship tournament back in 1972. It was in that year that legendary Thunderbird coach Peter Mullins guided a team that featured future national team members Ron Thorsen and John Mills to a CIS title, with wins over Windsor (117-84) in a semi-final and Acadia (8780) in the championship game (Coincidentally, the UBC “Thunderettes” claimed the women’s national championship on the same day with a 74-69 win in Saskatoon over the University of New Brunswick). But if there is added pressure within that tidbit of history, Hanson isn’t letting it get to him. Naturally, in spite of the lingering memories of 1987, he is looking ahead rather than backward. Not only does he know that his team may never get a better chance to take all the marbles, he also advocated passionately for UBC to play host to the 2016 tournament and to showcase the CIS game in a timely and unprecedented manner. There is no question that what will unfold in March is a basketball promotor’s dream. The reasons are many. First and perhaps foremost, the national championship tournament hasn’t been held in Western Canada since 1982 (Victoria). Second, the calibre of play appears to improve steadily with every passing year, and there is no question that the 2016 CIS Final 8 will present the Lower Mainland’s immense and historically enthusiastic basketball community with the finest product display since the NBA expansion Vancouver Grizzlies ambled out of town in 2001. With that as context, it is encouraging to note that the Thunderbirds have maintained upper level altitude to date this season. At the holiday break, they are in the hunt for top spot in the Pioneer Division with a conference record WINTER 2016 BLUE ; GOLD

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of 6-2 (11-3 overall), which included wins in three of four road games leading up to the break. “It’s a great opportunity for friends and supporters to see the level of talent in Canada,” says Hanson, who on a side note is just five conference wins away from moving into the number two spot for the most career victories among Canada West coaches. “Ultimately what I hope is to see this tournament held more often in Western Canada so that we can build support in our local markets. I also think it’s the best tool we have to keep more kids playing in Canada, because in a lot of cases the only university basketball they see is the NCAA on TV.” Understanding the golden opportunity before them, UBC’s varsity athletic department staff has kicked into high gear, utilizing the same social media strategy and powerful tools that helped produce record overall attendance during the football season and throughout the recent CIS Women’s Soccer Championships at Thunderbird Stadium. An important off-campus partnership has also been struck with leaders of the BC Boys High School Basketball Championships, which has a long history of popular success and an extensive network to three full generations of past participants and enthusiasts throughout the province. With two other Canada West teams also qualifying for tournament play, the potential exists to attract additional fans from other markets, particularly in the case of neighboring competitors Victoria, which currently sits just a game behind UBC in the Pioneer Division, and Thompson Rivers which currently leads the Explorers Division with a mark of 7-1. Then there is the always meaningful support of UBC alumni and friends, including the CIS Final 8 honorary chair David McLean, Ken Woods and former Thunderbirds David Nelson and Jamie Boyle, who no doubt will anchor a large gathering of courtside boosters whenever Hanson’s charges hit the floor.

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With his background in sport psychology, UBC’s head coach knows that his role is to keep his team focused on the week-to week process rather than the outcome of the season. This may include ignoring any prognostications down the stretch about how home court advantage makes UBC the team to beat, or that after qualifying for the CIS Final 8 in nine of the last 16 years since he took the helm means that now is the hour for the high-flying Thunderbirds to reach the stratosphere of CIS men’s basketball. Still, for anyone who witnessed what Hanson and company did all those years ago, it’s hard not to be damn excited. ;

#6 JORDAN JENSEN-WHYTE POSITION: G HEIGHT: 6-6 WEIGHT: 205 CLASS: ARTS 4 HOMETOWN: CALGARY, ALTA. POINTS/REBOUNDS: 15.9/4.5


#8 DAVID WAGNER POSITION: F HEIGHT: 6-9 WEIGHT: 245 FACULTY AND CLASS: ARTS 5 HOMETOWN: KAMLOOPS, B.C POINTS/REBOUNDS: 12.4/5.5

FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 44 YEARS

the CIS Men’s Basketball Championships (CIS Final 8) will be played at UBC March 17-20, 2016. The Thunderbirds will be led into battle by team captains Jordan Jensen-Whyte, Conor Morgan and David Wagner, who at the mid-season break were leading the team in scoring and rebounding.

#9 CONOR MORGAN POSITION: G/F HEIGHT: 6-9 WEIGHT: 220 FACULTY AND CLASS: KINESIOLOGY 3

The first game for the host Thunderbirds will be a quarterfinal on March 17 with a 6:00 pm tip-off. Championship semi-finals are slated for 3:00 and 5:30 pm on March 19. The championship final will begin at 5:30 pm on March 20. All games will be played in the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. Tournament packages are now on sale at gothunderbirds.ca/ cisfinal8.

HOMETOWN: VICTORIA, B.C. POINTS/REBOUNDS: 12.8/6.

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C

nnec

From the very beginning, they just believed in themselves, and slowly but surely, win after win, that belief and that confidence just continued to grow.�

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cting

with Coach K

JUST A FEW DAYS AFTER GUIDING HER TEAM TO VICTORY in the 2015 CIS Women’s Soccer Championships, Thunderbirds head coach Marisa Kovacs is making the rounds at War Memorial Gym to drop off gift bags to UBC Athletics and Recreation staff. It’s something she’s done throughout her adult years, giving small gifts to friends and other supportive people in her life. Simple acts of kindness such as these tell much of the story of how she led her team to a national crown in just her first year at the helm. Her bred-in-the-bone warmth and sincerity are apparent to each of the pleasantly surprised gift recipients. “I just want them to know that everything they did for me and my team this year is appreciated,” says the 34-year-old native of Windsor, Ontario. “Generally speaking, I want what’s best for the people around me.” Wanting what’s best for people around her, needless to say, includes her team members. That means making a sizable investment of time and energy in each unique individual, ensuring they know she has confidence in their ability and that she genuinely cares about their overall well-being and the quality of their student-athlete experience. “Players need to know that you believe in them and that you care about them – not just the commodity on the pitch – but as a person, that you want to know about their family and their school. That is huge.” And while caring deeply about her team members is an innate characteristic, she only recently discovered the importance of communicating her feelings in a direct way, a lesson she learned while serving as an assistant to former Simon Fraser men’s coach Alan Koch, now the head coach of Whitecaps FC 2. “I always thought that men’s teams don’t need as much direct reassurance,” she laughs. “But he taught me that they often do and he made sure that his assistant coaches talked to players individually off the field.” Armed with a valuable new coaching tool, she made her way to Point Grey almost exactly a year ago, where she discovered a talent-laden team that simply needed a bit more confidence in their capabilities. “I always just assumed that my players knew that I loved them and that they were good people and great players” says Kovacs, who served for nine seasons as head coach at the University of West Georgia, a NCAA Div. II institution. continued on page 16

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continued from page 15

“But if you don’t really show them, they don’t know. That’s the most important thing I learned from Coach Koch, that I really needed to put myself out there more.” Inspiring greater confidence in her players while at the same time allowing them the freedom to use their skills on the field and have some fun doing so appears to have produced the secret sauce for success. In spite of just having one team member named a conference all-star, the 2015 Thunderbirds gave up only one game all season long, and were not scored upon through the last six play-off games. “Coach K made us feel like a team and made us feel like we could win as a team,” said fifth-year defender and CIS Tournament All-Star Krista Whittaker. “She is compassionate and caring, but she also has a strong backbone. She knew when to give tough love, but when she did, it was never directed at an individual but at the team. I think that’s important for female athletes.” In addition to intuitive sport psychology skills, it is also evident that Coach K also knows the game well after many years as a player and coach. Recruited out of high school by NCAA Division I Coastal Carolina, she was a four-time Big South All-Conference team member and the league’s Freshman-of-the- Year in 2000. She served as captain for three seasons and made the Big South’s All-Tournament team in 2003. After finishing her varsity career, she played for the W-League’s Toronto Inferno and London Gryphons. She began her coaching career as a graduate assistant at West Georgia in 2004, the team’s inaugural season of play, and was thereby instrumental in building the program from the ground up. She was promoted to head coach in 2006 and led her teams to the Gulf South Conference Tournament semi-finals four times. But her success as a coach is not strictly about good onfield strategy and positive interactivity with players. Marisa Kovacs also has a fiery competitive spirit and the ability to foster the same edginess in her players. “Each time I step on the field I want to show her I can be better,” says Whittaker. “We’re not satisfied with just winning - we want perfection. Being part of the backline this year, we were never happy with a win, we always wanted a shutout. And even if we got a shutout with a few lucky breaks in our favour, we watched video to correct those so they didn’t happen again.” Appropriately, the Thunderbirds ended their season on a shutout, a 3-0 championship victory over neighboring Trinity Western Spartans, at home in Thunderbird Stadium, and in the University’s 100th anniversary year. Even more appropriately, the win turned out to be the 100th CIS Championship victory for a Thunderbirds team. On the following weekend, her husband, Thunderbirds football

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Top - Coach K shows her competitive mettle in CIS Championship final; Left: Goalkeeper Olivia de Goede celebrates a 3-0 shutout win; Right: Graduating senior Taylor Shannick kisses the Gladys Bean Memorial Trophy.

team defensive coordinator James Colzie III, also a firstyear UBC coach, played a key role in securing the 101st CIS championship for a UBC team in the Vanier Cup. As if that doesn’t already qualify as a magical inauguration for the recently wed newbie coaching couple, they are expecting their first child in just a few weeks. Her team members, meanwhile, are still walking on air as national champions, particularly fifth-year players who have had three coaches and experienced periods of turmoil that frequently accompany personnel changes. Alumni and friends of the program, who have been accustomed to seeing their team at or near the top since winning the firstever CIS Women’s Soccer Championship in 1987, are no doubt relieved to see stability and success restored. And in the jubilant aftermath of that historical victory, UBC’s newest head coach gave a simple reason for her team’s spectacular performance, and how obviously thrilled she is to be at UBC. “Belief,” she said with trademark conviction. “From the very beginning, they just believed in themselves, and slowly but surely, win after win, that belief and that confidence just continued to grow. And we’re on our home turf - there’s nowhere else we would rather be!” ;


BLOCK

NEWS ; NOTES FROM THE BIG BLOCK CLUB

Top: Mitch Barnett kisses the Vanier Cup as his father Bruce Barnett likely did in 1982. Left: 1997 team alumni hoist the trophy again 18 years later. Back row: Bob Beveridge, Ryan Leslie, Paul Orazietti, Chris Hoople. Front: Dino Camparmo and Craig Smith.

VANIER CUP SPARKS ALUMNI As with most victory celebrations, there were touching moments during the on-field aftermath of the recent 2015 Vanier Cup win for UBC. Arguably, the best example was relayed to Blue and Gold by alumnus Dino Camparmo, a slotback on the 1997 team that was the last from Point Grey to drink from CIS football’s coveted cup. Now a teacher and rugby coach at Brookswood High School in Langley, Camparmo made the trip to Quebec City along with 1997 team mates Jim Cooper and Ryan Leslie. There they reconnected with other team mates, Paul Orazietti, Bob Beveridge and Chris Hoople, who are currently assistant coaches with UBC, as well as former Thunderbirds assistant coach Craig Smith, now a CFL scout. Here, in his own words, is what he recalled of the moments following the T-Birds fourth Vanier Cup victory, and the first since 1997 when he and his team-mates reigned supreme under much loved coach, the late Casey Smith. “Throughout the game, I couldn’t help think of our 1997 team. I knew Casey was looking down on us. As we were celebrating on the field, something special happened. I looked into the crowd of players and noticed the name on the back of one of the UBC players, Casey. It was back-up quarterback

Trevor Casey, who wears number 17. Last Wednesday happened to be the 17th anniversary of Casey’s passing. Tears started flowing. With my luck, my phone was dead so I couldn’t snap a picture. However, this image is engrained in my head.” The alumni group got the opportunity to raise the Vanier Cup a second time in Quebec City, and when they did they uttered a heavenward salute to Casey, who succumbed to cancer almost exactly a year to the day after leading them to Vanier Cup victory. Camparmo then made a phone call to explain what had just happened to Casey’s father, UBC Hall of Fame coach Frank Smith, who no doubt appreciated the call. A less obvious moment would have occurred up in the stands. There stood alumnus Bruce Barnett, a Grey Cup champion with the BC Lions and an all-star linebacker on the 1982 Thunderbirds team, the first to win a Vanier Cup for UBC. And there at field level stood his son and future CFL prospect, Mitch Barnett, kissing the Vanier Cup as his father may well have done exactly 33 years earlier. Other members of the 1982 team were in attendance as well, including CFL veterans Jerry Dobrovolny and David Sidoo. Meanwhile, three time zones to the west, some 150 gridiron alumni huddled at Mahony and Sons in downtown Vancouver to watch the game. A series of pre-game social gatherings among football alumni this past season were continued on page 18

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in part due to the yeoman efforts of 1982 assistant coach and alumnus Michael Canic. A globe-trotting leadership consultant with the added distinction of having received the first PhD ever awarded by the UBC School of Kinesiology, Canic joined forces a couple of years ago with former team mates Digby Leigh, Dan Smith and other like-minded alums to revitalize the Thunderbird Football Association. Well known for raising money and making memories at the annual Frank Gnup Memorial Golf Classic and other events, the TFA is now getting lots of traction on a new strategy. Canic explains that the effort focuses on the early career alumni experience to facilitate the transition from football to the work world through mentoring, seminars and career connections. The inaugural seminar was well received in November by an engaged and conversant gathering of recent graduates. Held in the well-suited confines of the private dining room of the Keg Yaletown, Canic delivered a polished post-dinner presentation that was the first in what the organization has labelled the T-Bird for Life: Career Success Series. The subject matter sparked eager and animated discussion among graduates who lingered long after the appointed hour of adjournment. Alumnus and Psychology Professor Emeritus Ken Craig took in most of the action all season long at Thunderbird Stadium and on TV. Ken remembers playing in what is widely regarded as the first national championship appearance for a UBC football team in 1959, when the Frank Gnup coached team that included future CFL players Doug Mitchell and Don Vassos lost a contest to Western Ontario in a national final that was a pre-cursor to the Vanier Cup. Professor Craig may have missed out on a national championship back then, but his record as a world-renowned pain expert whose pioneering work has revolutionized pain research among highly vulnerable populations was recognized in July with his appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada.

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Left Alumnus and former Thunderbird football coach Michael Canic during seminar presentation. Above: Newly elected COC President Tricia Smith

TRICIA SMITH VOTED COC PRESIDENT UBC rowing alumna and UBC Law graduate Tricia Smith was recently elected as president of the Canadian Olympic Committee. A four-time Olympian in rowing, Smith captured a silver medal at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games. She served as Canada’s Chef de Mission for the 2007 Pan American Games and was a key member of the international team of the Vancouver 2010 Bid Committee. She is also the Vice President of the International Rowing Federation and has been a leader in enhancing opportunities for women to compete, coach, administrate and officiate in international rowing. In Canada, she has been involved in sport arbitration for more than 20 years as one of the initial pro bono lawyers recruited by the Centre for Sport and the Law and currently with the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada. A former chair of the Board of Directors of the UBC Alumni Association, she received a Honourary Degree from her university in 2001 and was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2010.


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TEWKSBURY AND MUIR KEYNOTES FOR ZLC SCHOLARSHIP BREAKFAST

Clockwise from above: Canada West Director of Sport and former UBC Associate Athletic Director Kim Gordon polishes Hardy Cup in advance of conference championship; Jeff Francis pitching for the Rockies in 2007; Alumni Inaki Gomez and Evan Dunfee celebrate respective silver and gold medal wins in 20 km Race Walk at 2015 Pan Am Games. Greg Kolz photo

The 2016 ZLC Scholarship Breakfast will feature keynote speakers Mark Tewksbury and Debbie Muir. Tewksbury, who competed for the University of Calgary swim team during his rise to international prominence, is an Olympic gold medalist, Chef de Mission of the 2012 Canadian Olympic Team, and global Humanitarian. Muir is the coach of Canada’s Olympic champion synchronized swim team, a Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame inductee, and High Performance expert. She was also Tewksbury’s technical coach and helped him achieve his Olympic gold medal in 1992. The tandem are dynamic cospeakers who actively engage with audiences and speak to achievement, leadership and legacy through personal

stories that reflect the experiences and strong bond of UBC Thunderbird coaches and athletes. Ticket prices are $200 per person ($150 will be matched by the University) and can be directed towards the team of your choice. More than 10 million dollars has been raised to establish Athletic Scholarship Endowments since the inception of the event. The ZLC Scholarship breakfast is scheduled for February 23, 7:00-9:00 am at the Vancouver Convention Centre East.

BIRD BITS Although not yet official at press time, Thunderbird baseball alumnus Jeff Francis will reportedly not return to professional baseball in 2016. A threetime Academic All Canadian in the UBC Faculty of Science, Francis went on to an 11-year professional career with the Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, Cincinnati Reds, Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays. He had a career year in 2007 while leading the Rockies into the playoffs for the first time in over a decade, finishing the season with 17 wins while pitching over 200 innings. He then made his first postseason appearance as the first Canadian starting pitcher to win a Major League Baseball postseason game by beating the Philadelphia Phillies…Thunderbirds track alumnus Evan Dunfee is far from retirement, earning a victory at the recent Australian 50-kilometre Road Walking Championships and setting a new Canadian record in the process. Dunfee finished in a time of 3:43:45, trimming over four minutes off the previous national mark of 3:47:48. His time was the seventhfastest in the world this year and was well inside the Canadian qualifying standard of 3:54:20 for the 2016 Rio Olympics… Former Associate Director of UBC Athletics and Recreation, Kim Gordon, recently took over the helm of Canada West Universities Athletic Association after being appointed Director of Sport. A former national team rower, Gordon led UBC’s varsity athletic program from 1990 to 2002, including serving a term as Canada West President and two terms on the CIS Board of Directors. ;

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CIS MEN’S BASKETBALL FINAL 8 CHAMPIONSHIP MARCH 17-20 2016

PROUD HOST OF THE 2016 CIS MEN’S BASKETBALL FINAL 8 CHAMPIONSHIP

gothunderbirds.ca/cisfinal8

C A N A D I A N P U B L I C AT I O N M A I L AG R E E M E N T # 4 1 4 7 3 0 2 6

UBC Blue+Gold Spring 2016  

Blue+Gold is the official magazine of the UBC Thunderbirds and Thunderbird alumni. Started in the fall of 2004, the magazine prints once or...

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