A Tribute to the Regina Cougars and coach, Greg Barthel.
At a small University tucked away in the cold Saskatchewan prairies who would of thought that a town of 300,000 people could have played home to so many young Australian athletes on the pursuit to launch their international volleyball careers. The Regina cougar’s men’s volleyball program was one the first ever teams in the U-sport, Canada West to recruit an Australian starting back in 2012, something that was very new for Volleyball in Canada at the time. Since then, the U-sport CanadaWest and most other Canadian Volleyball conferences are now complimented with internationals on their rosters, a trend that has really helped Canadian university volleyball reach the level it is today.
The man behind the Cougars for the last 10 seasons has been Mr Greg Barthel, a coach that has built a reputation as one of the most well-known and well thought after coaches in the CanadaWest U-sport. Greg has led the way in international recruiting from the start, developing his roster with Australian hopefuls and opening the door to Canada for athletes around world. Universities and Colleges from around North America are now looking directly to recruit Australian athletes to populate their teams, showing that there are more Aussie athletes than any other internationals throughout the conferences. It’s now estimated that over 50 Australian athletes are playing and studying accross Canada and Greg Barthel has had a lot to do with fantastic pathway Australian athletes can now look towards.
On the 1st May 2018, the news came about that the Regina Cougars would be no more, the program cancelled for the 2018/19 season due to funding from the university’s athletic budget. An extremely sad day for the people of Regina and the staff/athletes involved in the Men’s Volleyball program. At a time where the program was developing season by season in one of Canada's smallest U-sport towns, it is heartbreaking to see the program fold and the team room doors closed for good. For Head Coach Greg Barthel, a coach that must now say goodbye to his team of staff and athletes, even know it is a shock for most, we know Greg can walk away with his head held high knowing he has done fantastic things for athletes around the world and for Canadian Volleyball as a whole. Volleylink would like to officially pay tribute to Coach Barthel and his family, we know that this won’t be the last Canada sees of this fantastic coach, mentor and person!
"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." --Henry Ford