Local product elects to stay to play men’s volleyball next season
KELOWNA, B.C. – Devon Cote, now a three-time first team all-star at the BC Boys AAA High School Volleyball Championships, was once again recently honoured at the championships when his Kelowna Owls squad, for the third straight year, captured provincial silver, has formally given his intent to play for the UBC Okanagan Heat men’s volleyball team for the upcoming 2015 season.
“I am happy to say [that] I will finally be part of the Heat team at [UBC Okanagan]!” he said, completing a long road to get to the university level he has dreamed of playing at.
A long time fan of his hometown university squad, Cote caught his first Heat game back when he was in ninth grade. “It motivated me to work hard enough to be one of them someday,” he reflected. “I’ve managed to keep my grades up … I’ve trained hard, and played with many great coaches and teams …. Hard work does pay off.”
The outside hitter has an incredible work ethic, which impressed Heat coach Greg Poitras back when Cote came to sit in on a practice when in Grade Nine. “He jumped into a hitting line like he had already been a part of the team,” Poitras said of a younger Cote. “He has a great mind for the game and a great motor.”
Poitras is eager to see what Cote promises to bring in terms of his offensive prowess as well. “He has a powerful arm and can attack angles and areas of the court that are not easy for any outside hitter,” the coach said. “I have no doubt that Devon’s ability to score will transfer to the CIS level very soon. Pound for pound he is one of the best products the Okanagan has [ever] seen.”
Cote’s ability as a hitter were on display at the provincial championships where we was crowned the winner of the 2014 Spike Competition.
Poitras looks to insert Cote at the wing going forward, a spot which he says “[needs] some depth.”
Cote already has a wealth of experience with Heat staff and the culture, having been coached already by some of the team’s alumni and coaching staff in high school, club, and the Volleyball Canada Center of Excellence.
The new UBC Okanagan rookie will enroll in the Human Kinetics program and will also pursue studies in psychology with ambitions to one day “combine [the disciplines] and become a sports psychologist.”
“I am happy to be able to stay and play here in the Okanagan,” Cote said of his new university home. “I will feel comfortable at school and be surrounded by the support of family and friends. It’s a great way to start a year at university.”
Mike Sodaro, Devon’s coach at Kelowna Secondary, is happy that he will be able to keep tabs on his power hitter throughout his university career with Devon staying in town saying “KSS is very excited to have Devon Cote sign with the UBCO Heat, and stay in Kelowna to help the Heat next year at the CIS level.”
Sodaro, himself a former all-star athlete at this institution, has confidence that his captain, who this past season led the Owls in passing and kill efficiency, will bring leadership and no doubt be an asset to UBC Okanagan called Devon a ‘true leader,” and knows that, “he will be a tremendous asset to UBCO in the years to come and I wish him all the best at the CIS level. Greg Poitras should be very excited to have this top recruit so close to home.
The 6-foot one Cote has played on the provincial team for the past three years, this past summer he suited up for the U19 Team BC squad and was one of only five of the players on the provincial team of high school age, the remainder having played one year of university – including future UBC Okanagan teammate Lars Bornemann.
In the previous two summers Cote was chosen to play for the U16/17 Team BC, in 2013 he won gold at the Western Elite championships in Regina and was named to the tournament’s all-star team.
Along with Team BC Cote has played club ball with the Kelowna Volleyball Club (KVC).
Devon is the first recruited signed by Poitras for next season and you can catch Cote in action with his new team next fall when Heat men’s volleyball will return to the court for the 2015-16 season.
Be sure to check back at goheat.ca following this year’s campaign for updates on the 2015-16 calendar check in June when the schedule will be announced.