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

Share your opinion with editor@langleyadvancetimes.com
LETTER: Langley could make 208th Street hill safer with little cost

A left turn onto 208th Street hill makes intersection dangerous

Langley Animal Protection Society is asking people to think about the animals in need this holiday season, offering a number of ways to help. (Drew Harkness/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Santa Paw efforts afoot in Langley this Christmas

Aldergrove animal shelter develops new ways for people to help pets this holiday season

Local people are signing onto an online campaign to have people stand out of doors at 6 p.m. local time on Christmas Eve and ring bells for two minutes. (Facebook post)
LETTER: Langley, ring those Christmas bells

Global campaign asks people to ring bells for two minutes outside at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve local time

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Kevin Bieksa during his days playing with the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo: commons.wikimedia.org)
Bieksa to guest on free Canucks Alumni ‘Hot Stove’ on Zoom app

Former NHL player has become a game analyst on Sportsnet

Vees goalkeeper Yaniv Perets stands watch while Tyler Ho takes the puck around the back of the net on Nov. 7. The BCHL press release did not name the player who tested positive.(Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton Vees quarantining after player tests positive for COVID-19

The team, staff and billets are isolating while they are tested

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Most Read