While he’s been at it on campus for a few days already, Nathan Bennett was officially named Friday as the new head coach of the U of S men’s volleyball program.
Bennett replaces long-time Huskies’ men’s volleyball head coach Brian Gavlas, who was fired in May after admitting that he knew a recruit was facing a sexual assault charge in Alberta when Matthew Meyer joined the team last year. A Prince Albert native, Meyer was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to a January, 2016 sexual assault in Medicine Hat. Bennett, who becomes the eighth head coach in the history of the U of S men’s volleyball program, comes to the Huskies from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops where he spent time as an assistant coach with, both, the men’s and women’s teams. Following is the news release from Huskie Athletics…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 10, 2018
Bennett set to lead Huskies men’s volleyball program
SASKATOON – Huskie Athletics is pleased to announce the hiring of Nathan Bennett as the new head coach of the University of Saskatchewan’s men’s volleyball program.
Bennett joins the Huskies from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C., where he has spent time serving as an assistant coach with both the WolfPack men’s and women’s volleyball programs.
He is the eighth head coach in the history of the Huskies men’s volleyball program.
“We are thrilled to welcome Nathan to the Huskie Athletics team,” said Huskie Athletics Chief Athletics Officer Shawn Burt. “In addition to his impressive playing and coaching credentials, he brings an incredibly positive outlook, attitude and vision for our program into the city. Nathan’s approach, work ethic and attitude were exactly what we were looking for in the new leader of our men’s volleyball program.”
Bennett, who is from Athabasca, Alta., already has experience in a lead role, having spent two years as head coach of the men’s volleyball team at Capilano University in B.C., before joining the Wolfpack. He led the Blues to the Pacific Western Athletics Association (PACWEST) title in his first year, earning the nod as PACWEST Coach of the Year.
“I have been on the other side of the net many times versus a Huskie team and they have always been some of the most difficult matches of my career,” said Bennett. “The work ethic that has been on display from Huskie athletes for many years makes me very excited to become a part of that culture. I believe the family atmosphere that the Huskie Athletics program provides, fits with my core values and my beliefs.”
Bennett was an accomplished player before moving on to the coaching ranks, winning a national championship with the University of Alberta Golden Bears in 1997 and spending 11 years in European professional leagues between 2001 and 2012. He also suited up for the British national team for three summers leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games.
His wealth of experience—both as a player and a coach—helped develop his unique approach to coaching and program development that stood out during the hiring process, according to Burt.
“My philosophy is built around my core values: trust and honesty, discipline and respect, clarity and consistency and positivity in failure,” said Bennett. “I believe that the process is more important than the product. I also believe in delivering an elite student athlete experience with hard work and building relationships within the team, the university and the community.”
Bennett also brings extensive experience working and playing in a powerhouse Canada West conference that has produced 45 of the last 52 men’s volleyball national championship teams.
“Staying in Canada West is a great feeling because it is the conference I have been in as a player and as an assistant coach,” said Bennett. “I know a lot of the people in Canada West and I am looking forward to the competition that the league provides. I am a Prairie guy, I grew up in Athabasca, Alberta, and this opportunity keeps me closer to home.”
Bennett began his new role with the Huskies in early August. He will be joined in Saskatoon by his wife, Robbyn Bennett, who was an assistant coach with the TRU women’s volleyball program.