Former athlete and long-time assistant coach with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies track & field program, Mavis Dzaka has been selected as mentee for the Black Female Coaching Mentorship Program.

A part of the Black Canadian Coaches Association, the program features 17 mentees who will learn from top coaches from across Canada with the goal of creating Black female mentorship, coach professionalization and leadership development opportunities.

“This program is very important to me. I am hoping this provides a platform for more voices to be heard, increased professional development opportunities, and a way for us (mentee and mentors) to celebrate one another,” said Dzaka. “Although mentorship is not a new concept, having something specifically for Black women is integral to our success as well as those who follow in our footsteps.”

Dzaka, who was student-athlete with the Huskies 1999-2003, started coaching while still in university with the Saskatoon Track & Field Club before joining the Huskies staff in 2011.

“I knew my coaches were volunteers and giving of their time; I knew this would be my way of giving back to the track community,” said Dzaka.

A sprints and hurdles coach, Dzaka has played a large role in the Huskies success throughout her time with the program, a resume that includes three Canada West titles for the women’s team in the last three years.

“Our entire program is very proud of Mavis’ continued efforts to be the best coach she can be as well as a leader in our community,” said Huskies head coach Jason Reindl. “She is a coach who is there day in and out with the athlete. A motivator, working with the athlete’s individual abilities, trying to find what works best.”

With recent highlights from the athletes Dzaka coaches including Kaylee Ilnisky making a large improvement to finish sixth in the 60-metre race at the Canada West Championships, Dzaka looks forward to the learnings she can take from the program to bring back to the Huskies.

“My hope is to learn from their experiences (good and bad), celebrate when we achieve different milestones; I’m looking to be challenged in different ways,” said Dzaka. “The biggest thing is to become a better coach for my current and future athletes.”