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

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

Ottawa serial killer Camille Joseph Cleroux died of natural causes at Abbotsford’s Pacific Institution on Sunday.
Serial killer housed at Abbotsford’s Pacific Institution dies of natural causes

Camille Joseph Cleroux announced dead on Sunday, known as notorious Ottawa serial killer

A peregrine falcon nest sits atop the walls of a quarry where the owner wants to restart operations. The province has now given permission for the nest to be removed. (Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News)
Company gets OK to remove rare peregrine falcon nest from Abbotsford quarry

Province says it is satisfied with falcon population estimates and mitigation plans

Garry Blanchard of Hope won $77,000 correctly guessing the outcomes of all 13 games of NFL week 17. (Photo/BCLC)
Hope resident rakes in $77,000 in NFL Week 17 bet

Garry Blanchard won the record-breaking prize correctly guessing every outcome that week

This urn was found Jan. 4 at a Yale Road bus stop and has now been returned to its owner. (RCMP photo)
RCMP find custodian of urn that was left at Chilliwack bus stop

Police say the urn contained the remains of a family’s cat

Sexual offender Taylor Dueck has pleaded guilty to another charge after previously serving a three years and seven months in prison.
Sex offender with violent history pleads guilty to another charge

Taylor Dueck of Abbotsford/Mission was the subject of prior police warnings

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

A child joins the Uke ‘n Play kickoff event at the Chilliwack Library on Oct. 1, 2016. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Events return, in virtual form, at Fraser Valley Regional Library

People can take part in ukulele jam, bullet journaling, reading groups and more

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

People wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 walk past a window display at a store in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, December 13, 2020. The association representing businesses across Metro Vancouver says the costs of COVID-19 continue to mount for its members.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Greater Vancouver business organization says members face uncertain outlook in 2021

Many Greater Vancouver businesses are barely treading water as they enter 2021

A handgun seized by Surrey RCMP. (Photo: Police handout)
Crime Stoppers received 500+ tips about Metro Vancouver guns, gang activity in 2020: report

Metro Vancouver organization ‘urging local residents to keep providing anonymous tips’

Most Read