Coach no longer work­ing Knights

Nathan Groen­veld leaves Ni­a­gara to take over York men’s V-ball pro­gram

The Welland Tribune - - Sports - BERND FRANKE Re­gional Sports Edi­tor

Nathan Groen­veld, a Wel­land na­tive who led Ni­a­gara Col­lege to its first team medal at a na­tional cham­pi­onship, has left the re­gion’s com­mu­nity col­lege to coach at the univer­sity level.

He had been sched­uled to re­turn for a ninth year as head coach of the men’s vol­ley­ball team, but an of­fer to take over the men’s pro­gram at York Univer­sity was too much for the one-time Cana­dian na­tional se­nior team mem­ber to pass up.

Groen­veld, who played vol­ley­ball pro­fes­sion­ally in Qatar af­ter grad­u­at­ing from McMaster Univer­sity, is leav­ing the col­lege with mixed emo­tions.

“To­day is a bit­ter­sweet day for me as a coach, the last eight sea­sons have been out­stand­ing,” he said in sum­ming up his time over­see­ing the Knights. “My time with this pro­gram and the ter­rific stu­dent-ath­letes that I have had the priv­i­lege to work with have been truly a truly out­stand­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“But I am ex­cited to ac­cept this new chal­lenge with the York Lions.”

He was hired to be­come the fourth head coach in the his­tory of the York men’s vol­ley­ball pro­gram fol­low­ing a na­tion­wide search. Terms were not dis­closed in a story posted on the univer­sity’s web­site.

“Nathan is one of the top vol­ley­ball coaches in the coun­try and brings a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence and an out­stand­ing track record to York,” Jen­nifer My­ers, the univer­sity’s di­rec­tor of ath­let­ics and recre­ation, said. “Through­out his ca­reer he’s demon­strated the type of team-build­ing and lead­er­ship skills we value at York.”

Groen­veld said he is look­ing for­ward to be­ing back in the On­tario Univer­sity Ath­let­ics (OUA) af­ter start­ing in his new job Wed­nes­day.

“This is a spe­cial univer­sity that val­ues the com­plete stu­den­tath­lete ex­pe­ri­ence, which is some­thing that aligns with my coach­ing phi­los­o­phy very strongly,” he said. “I can­not wait to get started and be­gin work­ing this in­cred­i­ble group of young men.”

In five years play­ing in the

OUA, the 6-foot-7 Notre Dame Col­lege School grad­u­ate helped McMaster to two OUA cham­pi­onships from the mid­dle po­si­tion.

Groen­veld’s in­di­vid­ual honours while play­ing for the Ma­raud­ers in­clude a first-team, all-Cana­dian se­lec­tion, OUA player of the year, as well as two con­fer­ence first-team, all-star se­lec­tions.

He played on the se­nior na­tion team from 2007-10 and af­ter fin­ish­ing his play­ing ca­reer in 2010 went on to com­pile an over­all record of 96-62 in eight sea­sons coach­ing the Knights.

In 2014-15 Ni­a­gara fol­lowed up its gold medal at the On­tario Col­leges Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion (OCAA) by win­ning bronze at na­tion­als.

Eight play­ers were hon­oured as Cana­dian Col­le­giate Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion (CCAA) Aca­demic All-Cana­di­ans and three were named All-Cana­di­ans dur­ing Groen­veld’s coach­ing ca­reer at the col­lege.

Since 2014 Groen­veld has also been in­volved in coach­ing at the pro­vin­cial and na­tional lev­els, in­clud­ing a stint as lead coach of the youth na­tional team east se­lec­tion camp and as an as­sis­tant with the na­tional B team.

The coach­ing va­cancy is the third the col­lege will have to fill since the end of the 2017-18 sea­son. One-time Univer­sity of Al­berta as­sis­tant Natasha Spal­ing was hired last week to suc­ceed Nathan Janzen as women’s vol­ley­ball head coach and Phil Mosley was pro­moted from as­sis­tant coach af­ter in­terim head coach Mike Hur­ley opted not to take the job on a per­ma­nent ba­sis.

Janzen left Ni­a­gara af­ter two sea­sons to be­come a full-time as­sis­tant at McMaster. His teams won a bronze at provin­cials fol­lowed by a sil­ver.

BERND FRANKE THE ST. CATHARINES STAN­DARD

Wel­land na­tive Nathan Groen­veld is leav­ing Ni­a­gara Col­lege af­ter eight sea­sons to take over the men’s vol­ley­ball pro­gram at York Univer­sity in Toronto.

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