Volume 92, Issue 80
Thursday, February 18, 1999
Dean of Western women's volleyball
By Chad Thompson
At Western there is a dean of arts, a dean of science and for the last three years Western has had a dean of volleyball.
On Friday night, the coach of the Western women's volleyball team, Dean Lowrie, collected his 40th victory. What makes this mark impressive is he has reached this milestone in only three years and has only one loss over the same period.
Born in Calgary and raised in Winnipeg, Lowrie was forced to choose between hockey and volleyball in high school.
"I chose volleyball," Lowrie said. "I felt volleyball would allow me to go to the elite. There were less volleyball players than hockey players."
After graduating from Laurentian University, he returned to Winnipeg to work in child and family services. He began to coach at the high school level before aiding Doug Rhimer with the volleyball team at the University of Winnipeg. After helping at Winnipeg, he took a job in the Yukon which led to a job as the technical director of the Alberta Volleyball Association.
"Most people who were the technical director eventually found a full-time coaching job," he said. "Three years into the job I was offered the head coaching job at Western."
In 1996, Lowrie started coaching the women's volleyball team.
"I did not change a lot," he said. "The first year I worked with those players we had, but in the second year I began to recruit. I felt that recruiting would help us get to that elite level. Each year we get better known nationally and that aids in the recruiting process. We try and get the top volleyball players in the country."
However, Lowrie is humble about his 40-1 coaching record.
"It is the record in the league play," he said. "It is important because we now get respect from other teams in the country."
As a coach Lowrie is well respected around the league.
"He has raised the stakes for women's volleyball in Ontario," said McMaster's women's volleyball coach Tim Louks. "He is an exceptional coach. The 40 wins already says a lot about his ability. He is a good human being he has all the intangibles that make a good coach."
Western's captain Marnie Simpson was equally happy with her coach.
"He is a very good technical coach," Simpson said. "He is probably the best technical coach in Ontario. He has been developing as a head coach and continues to challenge the players."
At a university where hockey and basketball dominate the winter sport scene, Lowrie said he sees the profile of women's volleyball at Western improving.
"The profile has gone up and people are becoming more interested in the sport," he said. "We have the best volleyball players playing here. The crowds are getting better at each game."
Lowrie said his goals for the season were simple.
"It was clear," he said. "We want to win the Ontario University Athletics championship and go to the CIAU championship and challenge for the championship. We feel we can beat anyone."
Lowrie continued to point to his athletes as the reason for his success.
"The athletes are responsible for our direction. I'm just a tool to help go where they want to go. The players are the heart of the team."
Copyright © The Gazette 1999