Doug Reimer's UBC Thunderbirds have won six straight CIS Championships, yet in the eyes of the mainstream media, he's no genius Photo: UBCEditors notes: This is a letter written in response to Alex Walling's article posted on March 15th, 2013 on TSN.ca. The original article does not mention volleyball, and makes no remarks about the sport at all. The original article can be found here.
Now let me just start by stating this: I am not writing this letter attacking your calling Dave Smart a genius. Being from Ottawa, I am in 100% agreement with that statement. While basketball is not my main sport, having only played in High School, just as a sports fan watching from the stands at the Ravens Nest, you immediately get the notion that this is a special program. You want to win CIS Titles? You play for Dave Smart. Plain and simple.
The reason for this letter concerns one of the last lines of your article. A line that you probably thought nothing of, but struck a chord with me. When you stated that Glen Constantine, Laval’s Football coach, was “The only coach that can give Smart a run for his money”.
My question is, were other University sports considered? Were women’s sports considered? Or did you stay in the realm of men’s basketball, football, and hockey?
While I can’t speak for other sports, I can open your eyes to the world of women’s volleyball, and the Genius that is Doug Reimer of the UBC Thunderbirds.
Let’s go down the list of accomplishments, shall we?
To begin, he’s simply dominated women’s volleyball throughout the past half decade. We’re not talking two or three titles here. We’re talking six. In a row.
Let me say that again. Six CIS National Women’s Volleyball Titles. In a row. UBC has not lost at the CIS Championships since 2007. Many of his players will have played five years, all their eligibility, and have five gold medals to match.
Much like Smart’s Ravens, Reimer’s Thunderbirds play in the toughest conference in the CIS. All three CIS medalists this year were from the Can West, and UBC posted a record of 21-1. Since joining the Thunderbirds, Reimer posts a pretty impressive winning record of 284-77, for a .786 winning percentage.
At this year’s CIS Championships, UBC had no cakewalk schedule, having to play Trinity Western, the only team to defeat them all year in the semis, and Alberta, who has previously been ranked No. 2 in the country, in the finals. Still, UBC only dropped one set the entire tournament, and opened the finals with a 25-13 whipping of the Pandas.
Not only does he win Championships, but he also mentors incredible players. The past four CIS Women’s Volleyball Players of the Year have been Thunderbirds. Shanice Marcelle, this year’s recipient also won it 2010-2011, while teammates Liz Cordonier and Kyla Richey won it in 2009-2010 and 2011-2012 respectfully.
Where Reimer really stands out from the pack though, is not only his ability to win the big games, or develop one player to rely on, but rather develop a plethora of international talent.
The women’s National volleyball team is littered with not only former, but also current Thunderbirds. UBC is the most represented University program among those playing for our Nation as the moment. Since 2008, nine Thunderbirds have suited up in the Red and White to represent Canada, those girls being Emily Cordonier, Emily Hinze, Liz Cordonier, Marisa Field, Kyla Richey, Claire Hanna, Carla Bradstock, Lisa Barclay, Shanice Marcelle.
On top of this, Elizabeth Cordonier and Shanice Marcelle could also play for the Beach Volleyball National team. Cordonier has already broken into the Main Draw at FIVB events, while Marcelle is the defending Canada Games Gold Medalist.
This trend is undoubtedly going to continue since already two Thunderbirds, Danielle Brisebois and Juliana Kaufmanis are already representing Canada as a part of the Junior National Team.
So not only is Doug Reimer winning at almost an automatic rate, but he’s also a key ingredient to Canada’s women’s volleyball rebuild, without even stepping foot in Winnipeg, where our National women’s team trains.
If this can’t be called Genius, then I don’t know what deserves to be.