Steve Manuel – Head Coach – UBC Okanagan Women’s Volleyball Team
In the words of Steve’s own players, “He is truly a Community Sport Hero”. A long time and well-decorated fixture in the Canadian volleyball coaching landscape, Steve has used his considerable experience as a club, regional centre, and university head coach to raise the profile of the sport of volleyball in the Okanagan, as well as cultivating a culture of holistic excellence in his student athletes.
COVID-19 has hit uSports hard, but Steve has adapted, and ensured his players feel connected and that they are building important mental, social and physical skills at this challenging time. As his players attest “Steve is at the top of interior coordination for volleyball, even if you don't see him like you can guarantee he's always there, making sure that all athletes get some type of training.” Steve is known for having a broad net in attracting and retaining young talent, and for promoting player strengths: “He always likes to give athletes a shot - which is just great. I know that not many other university teams actually had the same opportunities that we have this year. So the fact that Steve was able to stand up for us and give us this opportunity to play, I'm extremely grateful for that.” His players also felt supported throughout the summer of 2020, heading into the 2020-2021 school year. “He's done so much for the program here, and he's taken it to great heights as well.
"We do lots of volunteer work and mainly that is because Steve encourages us to go and help.” UBC Okanagan Women’s volleyball has a long tradition of giving back, such as participating in the Parkinson's Super Walk, vegetable picking, coaching younger athletes, and participating in blood drives. “Steve has always drilled into us that we are the face of the university and really instilling in his athletes to carry ourselves in a way that reflects well upon the community that we represent.”
For showing such sport leadership, a focus on social-emotional development in his players in a time of great adversity, we congratulate Steve Manuel on being one of our Sport Heroes in 2020!