UBC men’s volleyball team members (R-L) Jared Krause, Christoph Eichbaum and coach Richard Schick - photo by Martin Dee
UBC Reports | Vol. 53 | No. 3 | Mar. 1, 2007
UBC’s Wide World of Sports
By Basil Waugh
The UBC men’s volleyball squad took a couple of major detours on the way to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) national championship in Hamilton, Ontario from March 2-4.
No, there were no missed flights or wrong exits on the Trans-Canada Highway.
However, twice this season, the team left the hypercompetitive CIS Canada West -- which boasts five of the country’s six top men’s volleyball teams -- for the chance to spike, block and serve to professional and varsity teams in Korea and Hawaii.
With a roster that includes international students Christoph Eichbaum of Schwerin, Germany, and William Liu of Dalian, China, the members of UBC’s men’s volleyball are poster boys for UBC’s commitment to an international varsity experience -- one that includes international recruiting, exchanges, international coaching credentials and interaction with high-calibre national team players and coaches.
Heading to the CIS nationals for the first time in 18 years, they have also become spokespersons for the benefits of this international approach.
“These trips were so important for us as a team,” says Eichbaum, who arrived at UBC on an exchange with Berlin’s Humbold University just weeks before the Korea trip.
Having played professional volleyball in France and Germany, and in more than 60 matches for Germany’s national junior team, Eichbaum brings a resume of high-level international experience and is one of the team’s scoring leaders.
“That first trip allowed us to get to know each other as a team, and the second trip really gave us the confidence that we can really play with top competitors,” Eichbaum says of a Christmas trip in which UBC swept NCAA volleyball powerhouse University of Hawaii.
In addition to his travels with the team, third-year setter Jared Krause spent two months training in Korea this summer thanks to another long-standing exchange relationship with Sung Kyun Kwan University (SKKU). He says these experiences have helped his understanding not only of his sport, but also of other cultures.
“The Korea trip really opened my eyes to different playing styles and strategies, says Krause. “Koreans are sort of known as expert defenders and that side of my game definitely improved while I was there.”
Krause says the highlights from the team’s recent travels include visiting the border between North and South Korea, scooting through the cliffs and beaches of Hawaii on mopeds, and the “rock star” treatment around the island after the team’s televised victories over the University of Hawaii.
In addition to supporting international tours, exchanges and tournaments, UBC places equal emphasis on coaching as the only Canadian university to hire full-time assistant coaches for sports other than football. Most UBC coaches come with international experience, including the Olympics (swimming, women’s basketball, track and field), national teams (volleyball, field hockey) and the World University Games (baseball, basketball and golf).
“We want UBC to be a pipeline to great international experiences,” says UBC men’s volleyball head coach Richard Schick, 2005 CIS Coach of the Year, who attributes international experience as a key element of the five national titles he has won as a volleyball player and coach.
“And not just while they’re here,” Schick adds. “We want to help our athletes achieve their goals after university, whether it’s the Olympics, national teams, pro teams -- even outside of sport.”
Schick says former UBC varsity stars, who include more than 214 Olympians, can be a rich resource for current athletes. With the 2007 nationals approaching, Schick recently brought members of UBC’s championship volleyball teams from the 1980s together to give today’s Thunderbirds insights on the experience and life in general.
“These guys can tell you a lot about what it feels like to win the highest prize in Canadian university sports, the connections they made through sport and some ideas for how to make the transition from university to what comes next,” said Schick.
In addition to emotional support from their predecessors, UBC’s ability to support its athletes through additional coaching, international experience and full scholarships, is made possible through a strong commitment to fundraising.
The TELUS Millennium Scholarship Breakfast on Feb. 27 is one of the best examples of athletic fundraising at UBC. Having raised $4.6 million in eight years, the annual event is the single-most successful fundraiser ever staged by a university athletics department in Canada.
UBC Athletics is closing in on the University of Toronto for the most national championships in the 46-year history of CIS and its antecedent, the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union. Prior to the 2007 CIS national championships, in which UBC volleyball, basketball and swimming teams will compete throughout March, UBC has 68 titles and U of T has 72.
The UBC Pipeline to International Varsity Experiences
- National program: Derrick Schoof (coach), Brian Johns, Matt Huang, Scott Dickens, Darryl Rudolf, Maya Beaudry, Matt Hawes, Jordan Hartney, Callum Ng, Sandy Lockhart, Caitlin Meredith, Michelle Landry, Erin Miller, Tara Ivanitz, Haylee Johnson and recent alumni Brent Hayden, Mark Johnston, Mark Versfeld, Malcolm Lavoie, Desmond Strelzow, Kelly Stefanyshyn and Jessica Deglau
- Recent championships: 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000
Women’s Field Hockey
- Recent tours: Australia 2006
- Upcoming tours: China or Argentina 2008
- National program: Hash Kanjee (coach) and recent alumni Christine De Pape, Stephanie Jameson, Kim Buker, Stephanie Hume, Tiffany Michaluk, Leigh Sandison, Laura Dowlang, Stephanie Quinn, Lesley Magnus, Laura Balakshin, Alisa Carey, Emily Menzies, Mo O’Connor, Jessie Denys and Tyla Flexman
- Recent championships: 2006, 2004, 2003, 2001
Men’s Field Hockey
- Recent tours: Spain 2006
- National program: Shiaz Virjee (coach), Dave Jameson, Scott Tupper, Anthony Wright, Philip Wright, Mike Mahood, David Hancock, Richard Hildreth, Michael Hobkirk, Mark Pearson, Patrick Mackey, Russell Bissett and recent alumni Jesse Watson, Ian Bird, Connor Grimes, Tyler Regan and Inderpal Sehmbi
- Recent tours: England/Scotland 2005
- International students: Bonnie Glover (Wisconsin, U.S.)
- National program: Jacquie Dunnett and recent alumni Andrea Neil, Heather Smith and Kristine Jack
- Recent championships: 2006, 2003, 2002
- Recent tours: England 2006
- International students: Martin Ferriera-Pinho (Argentina), Erik Horn (Norway) and Hussein Abu (Ghana)
- National program: Aaron Richer and Steve Frazao
- Recent championships: 2005
- Recent tours: Cuba 2005 and 2006
- National program: Deb Huband (coach), Megan Pinske, Devan Lisson, Leanne Evans and recent alumni Sheila Townsend and Carrie Watson
- Recent championships: 2006, 2004
- Upcoming tour: Taiwan 2007
- National program: Kevin Hanson (coach), Randy Nohr (assistant coach), Brent Malish and recent alumni Pasha Bains and Kyle Russell
- National program: Doug Reimer (coach) and recent alumni Emily Cordonier, Shelley Chalmers, Barb Bellini, Joanne Ross, Jenny Rauh, Kaley Boyd and Sarah Maxwell
- Recent tours: Korea/Hawaii 2006
- International students: Christoph Eichbaum (Germany), William Lui (China)
- National program: Richard Schick (coach), Kyle Duperron, Spencer Holowachuk and recent alumni Conrad Leinemann, Ross Ballard and Kyle Bryce
- International students: Marianne Banton (Washington, U.S.)
- National program: Chris MacDonald (coach), Blake Rowe-Sleeman, Erica Bennett, and recent alumni Jana Haggins and Morgan Lederhouse
- Recent championships: 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003 (women’s)*
*Includes both National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and Royal Canadian Golf Association titles
- Recent tours: England/U.S. annually
- National program: Recent alumni Ben Rutledge, Kyle Hamilton, Rob Weitemeyer, Ben Dove and Geoff Hodgeson
- Recent championships: 2005 (men’s), 2004 (women’s)
- Recent tours: U.S. annually
- International students: Tim Howard and Lachlan Marshall (Australia)
- National program: Spence McTavish (coach), Chase Sereda, Tyler Hotson, Eric Wilson, Nicolas Rivet and recent alumni Mike Burak, Chris Pack, Mike Langley, Brenden Singbeil and Ryan McWhinney
- Recent tours: U.S. bi-annually
- International students: Naomi Ogawa (Philippines), Barbara Lelj (Italy), Pilar Nunez (Spain), Morgan Yeatman (Australia), Katherine East and Kristen Mazan (USA)
- National program: Kim Donaldson and recent alumni Rosie Cobbett and Lesley MacKenzie
Track and Field/Cross Country
- International students: Naoko Inoue and Megumi Okamoto (Osaka, Japan)
- National program: Marek Jedrzejek (coach), Mike Mason, Shane Carlos and recent alumni David Milne and Jeff Scheibler
- Tours: U.S. annually
- International students: Fletcher Vynne, Ben Hoekstra and Ben Millar (U.S.)
- National program: Terry McKaig (coach) and recent alumni Brad Ashman, Adam Campbell, Mark Capone and Jeff Tobin
- International students: Anne-Sophie Larsson (Sweden), Ida Lien and Julia Staszewski (Norway)
- National program: Nancy Wilson (women’s team assistant coach)