Courtesy of the CCAA
Cor Ouwerkerk, who excelled as a coach in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) over five decades, will be inducted into the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Hall of Fame in the Coach Category.
Ouwerkerk coached basketball, football, gymnastics, rugby, soccer, track and field and volleyball from 1968 to 2000 in Alberta. He also served as the Athletic Director at Red Deer College.
He was at the helm of the Red Deer College Women's Volleyball team for 25 years, leading the Queens to six undefeated seasons. He won more than 3,700 games and obtained a 90% winning percentage over a 30-year period.
"That is why he has and continues to be recognized as having played an important role in establishing the standards of excellence in Athletics at RDC, both as a coach and Athletic Director," said Diane St-Denis, Athletic Director at Red Deer College.
Ouwerkerk and the Queens earned 13 straight ACAC pennants and made 15 trips to CCAA National Championship finals.
"We didn't always have the best team, but we outperformed other teams," he said. "Thirteen straight years at CCAA National Championships, I'm really proud of that."
In the 1980s, the Queens became a powerhouse in the ACAC. They captured eight consecutive conference titles from 1982-89.
"When I first started coaching, the goal was to win a provincial championship," said Ouwerkerk. "After we won, the ultimate goal became to win Nationals."
That would prove to be quite a challenge.
From 1978 to 2006, only one team from outside Quebec would earn a national title in CCAA Women's Volleyball. That team would be the '84 Red Deer Queens, who finally broke through with CCAA gold at John Abbott College in, where else, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC.
That year, the Queens had more experience than in previous seasons. Several student-athletes returned with one goal in mind.
"We had something to prove in Montreal and we ended up beating teams from Quebec in the semi-finals and gold-medal game," said Ouwerkerk. "We were determined to beat them. Finally winning a CCAA National Championship was so satisfying – I never had that feeling before."
Ouwerkerk's overall haul from CCAA Women's Volleyball National Championships would eventually include a gold, eight silver and four bronze medals.
He was named Coach of the Year seven times in Alberta and received the Coaching Excellence Award in CCAA Women's Volleyball in 1985.
Ouwerkerk, who is recognized on the RDC Legacy Wall of Excellence, is a two-time inductee in the Volleyball Alberta Hall of Fame (2005 as Coach, 2007 with the 1982-89 Red Deer Queens). He was also inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame (2005) and ACAC Hall of Fame (2014).
The 2019 CCAA Hall of Fame Banquet will be hosted by the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) on June 11 in Calgary.