SASKATOON – As an athlete Emily Humbert etched her name into the Huskie record books, now the former middle blocker for the Huskies women’s volleyball team is receiving recognition for her work as a coach after she was chosen for the University Female Coach Mentorship program.

Ran by the Coaching Association of Canada, the program aims to support the increased recruitment and retention of female coaches through financial and human resource support.

“It is truly an hour to be part of a program that aims to increase the presence of female coaches in the Canadian university system,” said Humbert. “Throughout my time as a U SPORTS athlete, I was fortunate to learn from incredible female coaches such as Tiffany Dodds-Little, Lindsey Mehler and Shelly Dodds.

“The impact these women had on my development as a player, and person, was incredible. I hope I can have a similar impact on the athletes that I coach.”

Suiting up for the Huskies from 2012-17, Humbert ranks in the top-10 in modern program history in kills, aces, blocks and points. The product of Saskatoon also received U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian honours multiple times in her Huskies career.

Taking a role as an assistant coach with the Huskies Volleyball Club in 2013 while in just her second year as a Huskie, Humbert then went on to head coaching roles within the Huskies Volleyball Club and at Bedford Road Collegiate where she currently teaches and coaches the Senior Girls Volleyball team.

“That is where I got my first taste of coaching, and I was fortunate to work alongside Brock Blomquist and Christine Epp, both of whom had a major impact on my decision to continue working as a club coach throughout the rest of my playing career,” said Humbert. “Once my playing career was done, I knew I wanted to continue my involvement with a sport that has taught me so much.”

Returning to the Huskies as an assistant coach last season, both Humbert and Huskies head coach Mark Dodds jumped at the opportunity for Humbert to re-join the program.

“We are beyond thrilled to have Emily as part of our coaching staff. She is a leader, a great communicator, compassionate, and very invested in the athlete’s journey through their time as a Huskie,” said Dodds. “This opportunity with the mentorship program is a perfect chance for her to invest in more education and training towards her passion for coaching.”

“I was thrilled when Mark asked me to come back to the program as an assistant coach,” said Humbert. “This program holds a such a strong place in my heart, and it is an absolute honor to be part of a team that is working tirelessly to return our program to the level of success that was experienced in the past.”

Some of that past level of success returned for the Hukies last year. Finishing the 2019-20 season in sixth place and earning a playoff berth for the first time in 18 years, Humbert and the Huskies took the eventual Canada West silver medallist Alberta Pandas to three games in their best-of-three quarter-final series, notching an emotional win away from home.

“Getting a playoff win in Alberta last year was moment of pure joy; it was a reflection of the grit and determination our team possesses, and the desire we have to become the best,” said Humbert. “That win was exciting, but I am even more excited to see what we will achieve once we get back into action.”

As a member of the staff that she previously learned under, Humbert will continue working day-in-and-day out for the betterment of both herself as a coach and the Huskies as a member of this mentorship program.

“Working alongside Mark, Myron and Shelley has been an absolute honor.  They all have an incredible understanding of the game from a tactical and technical perspective and are able to translate their knowledge to our players in such an accessible way,” said Humbert. “I am always so excited to come to practice knowing I get to learn and work alongside such quality coaches.”