KELOWNA, BC - Heather Semeniuk, a name synonymous with basketball throughout the Okanagan Valley, will retire as head coach of the UBC Okanagan women’s basketball team this spring.
After completing 20 years as head coach Semeniuk has decided that the 2014-15 season, her 21st, will be her final year on the bench.
“Heather has put her heart and soul into this program,” says Rob Johnson, UBC Okanagan Director of Athletics & Recreation, “and hundreds of student athletes have benefited from her coaching and guidance. At the conclusion of this her final season, in the spring of 2015, she’ll leave very big shoes to fill.”
The search to replace Semeniuk starts immediately. The posting closes on November 18. Details on application can be found at http://www.hr.ubc.ca/careers-postings/staff.php (Job ID 19570).
Now competing in Canada West, and working to re-establish its reputation as a consistently competitive team, Johnson has some thoughts on the type of person he hopes will apply for the position.
“In addition to the obvious need for technical knowledge and experience, we need someone who has strong abilities as a recruiter, able to bring in students that will make us a regular contender for the Canada West championship,” says Johnson.
“UBC is recognized as one of the top academic institutions in the world, so we need a coach who can sign students with the academic strength to succeed at UBC, the athletic ability to compete at the CIS level and the maturity and desire to prefer to get on the floor and play to help build this program rather than go sit on the bench at a school with a more established basketball program. “I believe student athletes with that confident, competitive personality will be attracted to a coach with a similar mind-set”.
“Further, we are looking for someone who is willing to continue to put in the work required to build our club program, the Junior Heat. Part of our mandate is to assist with, if not lead, the local development of each of our sports and Heather has made great strides in that direction with the establishment of the Junior Heat. We now have a foundation upon which we can continue to build the significant pool of local talent into CIS calibre players.” says Johnson.
While the position does not officially begin until April 1, 2015, it is vital that UBC begins the search now for the best-qualified candidate. “There really is no great time to post a position like this,” said Johnson. “No matter when you post it, there is a negative impact on someone in the process – either the coaches who are applying, the student athletes at the successful applicants’ school, the potential recruits, etc. But we believe that posting now makes the most sense.”
“While it does potentially put pressure on applicants to get their documentation together during their season start, it allows us to shortlist at the end of November and interview in early December when exams start. We see this as the only time that applicants will have to interview between now and next April, after the season and playoffs. And that means we’d miss an entire recruiting season. This way, while the position doesn’t officially start until next spring, recruits will know who the new coach will be.”
“There has been significant interest expressed already,” said Johnson of the position, “and I believe we will have an excellent pool from which to draw.”
When Semeniuk started in 1994, the Okanagan program was part of Okanagan University College which competed in the British Columbia Colleges’ Athletics Association (BCCAA now the PACWEST Athletics Association) a conference of the Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association (CCAA). She coached in 298 regular season games in that league and qualified for the provincial championship in 14 of those 17 years, twice winning provincial gold.
With the opening of the UBC Okanagan in 2005, the athletics department made application to the Canada West Universities Athletics Association (Canada West), a conference of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) and was accepted as a full member in 2011.