Densmore inducted into Volleyball Hall of Fame

35 years of team-building by inclusion

In three and a half decades of coaching volleyball, Virden’s Steve Densmore has won plenty of championships, but he is also proud of something he has never done.

Since starting the Club West female volleyball program in 1987, Densmore has never cut a player.

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While other high-level teams do, the former Virden Collegiate Institute teacher does not consider it an option. If there are too many players, you just make two teams, he explains.

“Every kid deserves an opportunity,” he said.

On June 9 in Winnipeg, Densmore was inducted into the Volleyball Manitoba Hall of Fame as a Builder for accomplishments that include 23 provincial championship or finalist volleyball banners achieved by leading VCI Golden Bears squads, and six national or Western Championship titles at the helm of Club West.

Densmore said about his induction, “It’s honouring your life’s work. … Very exciting.”

Virden product Aidan (nee Mooney) Green has good memories of playing high school and club volleyball for Densmore before competing at the NCAA Division I level, the highest in the U.S.

“Through him, we won a national title and I earned a full ride scholarship to a Division 1 university,” she said. “Steve was by far the best coach I ever had, including a team of college-level coaches. He taught me everything I know about volleyball from the basics of the game to how to be a smarter player (since I definitely wasn’t going to be the tallest D1 middle), to being mentally tough enough to handle the pressure of playing at the college level,” said the 6-foot tall Green.

Former player Rebecca (nee Senff) Ruzicka, who grew up in Virden and Oak Lake and played at Minot State University, said Densmore has a reputation as being demanding, “But the truth is he sees talent well before anyone else does, and he wants the player to find it in [themselves]. I was able to carry on and play at the college level - maybe not as a setter but as a defensive specialist. I attribute that to Mr. Densmore and the fundamentals he taught his players.”

In addition to volleyball and basketball, Densmore coached VCI to provincial championships in soccer and track and field. So, how did he come to coach volleyball for 35 years? It was the sport that needed coaching when he came to Virden.

Under his leadership, the VCI team quickly achieved success and held on to it. VCI was always among the top teams in the AAA and AAAA ranks. “For a small town, that’s incredible,” Densmore said.

Over the years, Densmore has received many honours and accolades. For example, he twice was the Manitoba High School Athletic Association Coach of the Year and twice received the MHSAA Recognition Award.

In 1987, Densmore felt he had players capable of making provincial teams that were being overlooked because they did not play club volleyball. There were no club teams in rural Manitoba, except for Selkirk. So, Club West started. It was successful and that helped the high school team be successful…

“Success breeds success,” he said.

After three decades, how much longer will Densmore occupy the volleyball bench? He said as long as he can keep coaching, he probably will. “I love the game and I love working with the kids.”

 

 Densmore inducted into Volleyball Hall of Fame

Marks 35 years of team-building by inclusion

 

By Robin Wark

In three and a half decades of coaching volleyball, Virden’s Steve Densmore has won plenty of championships, but he is also proud of something he has never done.

Since starting the Club West female volleyball program in 1987, Densmore has never cut a player.

While other high-level teams do, the former Virden Collegiate Institute teacher does not consider it an option. If there are too many players, you just make two teams, he explains.

“Every kid deserves an opportunity,” he said.

On June 9 in Winnipeg, Densmore was inducted into the Volleyball Manitoba Hall of Fame as a Builder for accomplishments that include 23 provincial championship or finalist volleyball banners achieved by leading VCI Golden Bears squads, and six national or Western Championship titles at the helm of Club West.

Densmore said about his induction, “It’s honouring your life’s work. … Very exciting.”

Virden product Aidan (nee Mooney) Green has good memories of playing high school and club volleyball for Densmore before competing at the NCAA Division I level, the highest in the U.S.

“Through him, we won a national title and I earned a full ride scholarship to a Division 1 university,” she said. “Steve was by far the best coach I ever had, including a team of college-level coaches. He taught me everything I know about volleyball from the basics of the game to how to be a smarter player (since I definitely wasn’t going to be the tallest D1 middle), to being mentally tough enough to handle the pressure of playing at the college level,” said the 6-foot tall Green.

Former player Rebecca (nee Senff) Ruzicka, who grew up in Virden and Oak Lake and played at Minot State University, said Densmore has a reputation as being demanding, “But the truth is he sees talent well before anyone else does, and he wants the player to find it in [themselves]. I was able to carry on and play at the college level - maybe not as a setter but as a defensive specialist. I attribute that to Mr. Densmore and the fundamentals he taught his players.”

In addition to volleyball and basketball, Densmore coached VCI to provincial championships in soccer and track and field. So, how did he come to coach volleyball for 35 years? It was the sport that needed coaching when he came to Virden.

Under his leadership, the VCI team quickly achieved success and held on to it. VCI was always among the top teams in the AAA and AAAA ranks. “For a small town, that’s incredible,” Densmore said.

Over the years, Densmore has received many honours and accolades. For example, he twice was the Manitoba High School Athletic Association Coach of the Year and twice received the MHSAA Recognition Award.

In 1987, Densmore felt he had players capable of making provincial teams that were being overlooked because they did not play club volleyball. There were no club teams in rural Manitoba, except for Selkirk. So, Club West started. It was successful and that helped the high school team be successful…

“Success breeds success,” he said.

After three decades, how much longer will Densmore occupy the volleyball bench? He said as long as he can keep coaching, he probably will. “I love the game and I love working with the kids.”

 

 

 

 

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