In his vast collection of awards, it’s the biggest and most prestigious honour yet for UBC Okanagan’s Steve Manuel.
A week after being named the Canada West coach of the year in women’s volleyball, the Heat bench boss has been awarded the CIS coach of the year honours.
In just their second season of Canada West competition, Manuel directed the Heat to a surprising 15-7 record and a fourth-place finish in the conference.
The Heat made its first ever appearance in the CIS top 10 in November 2012, and was
ranked nationally in eight of 14 weekly coach’s polls.
In his 12th season at the team’s helm, Manuel becomes the school’s first national award winner since UBCO joined the CIS for the start of the 2011-12 season.
“I’ve worked with a lot of these coaches for years and years, but in the past it’s always been in a different capacity, never really on par with them,” said Manuel, who was in Sherbrooke this week to accept the award. “But to be coaching on the same level and now to be recognized in this way is such a great honour.”
Manuel is a previous five-time winner of the BCCAA coach of the year award, a two-time CCAA volleyball coach of the year, and a double winner of the CCAA national coach of the year across all sports.
UBCO athletics director Rob Johnson said Manuel is very deserving of his first CIS award.
“I am very pleased for Steve, particularly as I am aware of the very high calibre of the other conference coaches of the year,” said Johnson, director of athletics at UBC Okanagan. “On top of all his other excellent qualities, he is a humble person and I know it means a great deal to him to be recognized by his peers and to be included in a group of nominees he himself holds in such high esteem.”
Also honoured this week from the Heat is setter Emily Oxland, who was named to the CIS all-rookie team. Recognized as a Canada West all-star last week, the North Vancouver product posted some staggering numbers in her first season.
Oxland recorded 804 total assists, the highest number recorded in the CIS since 2008-09.
“She is a leader, a true competitor and simply a winner,” Steve Manuel said of Oxland.