Nathan Bennett, shown here coaching the Saskatchewan Huskies last season, is the new head coach for the UFV Cascades men’s volleyball team.

Bennett named UFV men’s volleyball head coach

Huskies bench boss joins Cascades as they move from PW to CW

The winds of change are sweeping through the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades volleyball program, and an arrival from the prairies is the first sign of the new era at the school.

The UFV men’s volleyball program announced Nathan Bennett as the new bench boss for the 2019-20 Pacwest season, which will be the final year of competition for the Cascades in that league.

Bennett, who helped lead the University of the Saskatchewan Huskies to a 15-10 record in Canada West men’s volleyball action last year, will guide the ship for the program in its final Pacwest journey and then steer the ship as it enters Canada West play for 2020-21.

UFV volleyball was approved to join Canada West play back in May, ending a span of 17 seasons in Pacwest competition. In conjunction with that move, the Cascades volleyball coaching position is now a full-time position as opposed to a part-time one in years past.

Previous coach Kyle Donen and the program parted ways back in March. The 2018-19 season was a challenging one for the men’s team, as they finished with a record of 2-22 and missed the Pacwest playoffs.

Bennett arrives to the program with significant volleyball coaching experience at both the Pacwest and Canada West levels. He served as an assistant coach at Thompson Rivers University from 2014-18, and was also coached the Capilano University Blues from 2012 to 2014, earning coach of the years honours in 2013. The team also won the Pacwest title that year.

He said he’s thrilled to take on the opportunity with UFV and be closer to family and friends in B.C., but said he understands it will be a unique transition.

“Canada West is the beat league in the country but I’m ready for the challenge,” he said. “Compared to the Pacwest, the physicality is much higher, you have bigger and stronger athletes and just more polished players.”

He said the final year in the Pacwest will give him the chance to see what he has, and build for the debut at the Canada West level.

“We will be doing a lot of evaluating this year,” he said. “Both of our players and our systems. I don’t want to take anything away from the players we have now – they will have the first opportunity to move with us to Canada West. I also want to look at some older CCAA athletes that may want a shot in Canada West for a year or two. From there, we will begin recruiting high-end talent and I know Abbotsford as a community as a lot to offer in that regard.”

Bennett said he’s familiarizing himself with the roster he has right now, but said there are some basic qualities and a playing style he wants his team to use.

“The word relentless is going to come into play,” he said. “I want players with a never give up attitude and fight till the end of the day. It doesn’t matter what the score is, people that will do whatever it takes for the team. But I’m just excited to get in there and see what kind of team we have.”

He said he’s aware of the competition in Canada West, with strong programs nearby like Trinity Western University and UBC.

“There is a lot of competition for volleyball talent and we have to show players the good things we have here to entice them to come,” he said. “But we’re not just looking for the best player or athlete – they have to fit in with our culture and chemistry. They have to also be good students in the classroom and good people in the community.”

The Cascades will begin their final Pacwest season in October, and Bennett officially ends his time with the Huskies on Aug. 1.

“My wife and I are really excited for the challenge,” he said. “It’s a bit of a strange situation to come in for one year in the Pacwest, but UFV is a proud volleyball school and Abbotsford is a proud volleyball community so we’re both looking forward to it all.”

For more on the program, visit gocascades.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

More details emerge on mental health incident in Abbotsford on Sunday

APD officers assist mental health team for three hours yesterday, man sent to hospital with injury

Heritage Abbotsford seeks stories on places of ‘cultural significance’

Locations can include spiritual sites, family homes, landmarks and more

VIDEO: Abbotsford Agrifair’s Drive-Thru Safari debuts

Event draws well as families look for entertainment in COVID-19 era

Abbotsford Police respond to incident on Edgeview Place

Cul-de-sac closed for several hours after mental health situation with young man on Sunday

Fraser Valley Bandits clinch playoff spot with win

Bandits down Niagara River Lions 70-57 on Sunday, improve to 3-2

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Plane crashes into Nelson supermarket parking lot

Pilot and passenger have minor injuries

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Most Read