2016-17 Coaches of the Year Announced

2016-17 was another successful season for the MCAC, once again showcasing tremendous athletic programs with talented and dedicated student-athletes. As always, none of this would be possible without the efforts of the coaches who help these teams operate and guide their athletes to success both on and off the field of play. The following MCAC coaches have been recognized by the conference as Coach of the Year in their respective sports:

Women’s Soccer
Rainer Schira – Brandon University
In his third season coaching BU’s women’s program, Rainer Schira and the Bobcats won 7 regular season games, played to a draw 3 times, and avoided any losses in Conference play. That record was good for a second place ranking behind Red River College heading into the MCAC Final Fours, the same program who had beaten BU in the 2015 Final. But this season the Bobcats finally beat the Rebels when it mattered most, a 3-1 victory in the Final to hoist Brandon University’s first MCAC trophy in school history. 

Men’s Soccer
Justin Légaré – Université de Saint-Boniface
With the USB men’s soccer program winning their third-straight MCAC Championship this season, 2016 was yet another dominant campaign for Les Rouges under Légaré. Justin is also involved as a head coach and administrator for three other USB programs including women’s soccer, women’s futsal and men’s futsal. This was the first season USB fielded a women’s soccer team, with the majority of recruiting, training and head coaching being done by Légaré. Saint-Boniface’s men’s soccer team has no doubt been a force under his leadership but Légaré has also been instrumental in the growth of USB’s athletic program as well. 

Women’s Basketball
Jaenas Pangilinan – Red River College
Pangilinan coached the RRC women’s basketball program to a 8-4 regular season record, good for second in the Conference entering the MCAC Final Fours. After cruising through their semi-final matchup the Rebels beat the first-ranked CMU Blazers in the Final for a second season in a row, and Red River’s sixth-straight MCAC women’s basketball championship trophy. It’s safe to say the Rebels women’s program is amid a dynasty with Pangilinan at the helm, consistently bringing in talented athletes and coaching them to elite-calibre Final Four performances each season.

Men’s Basketball
Billy Isaac – Canadian Mennonite University
Isaac’s 7-5 Blazers entered the 2017 Final Fours as a two-seed behind the 11-1 Red River College Rebels, who had won the last eight MCAC men’s basketball championships. When the Blazers and Rebels met in the Final, MCAC fans were treated to one of the most thrilling performances by both teams in recent memory. Isaac’s Blazers went on to win 77-68, ending Red River’s epic men’s basketball championship streak and collecting CMU’s first men’s basketball title since 2008.

Women’s Volleyball
Evelyn Kampen – Canadian Mennonite University
A neck-and-neck regular season race against Providence resulted in CMU entering the post season eight points ahead of the field but two behind PUC. Under Kampen, the Blazers played exceptionally throughout but peaked at the most vital point of the season, beating PUC in a raucous, seesaw five-set Final. This was the Blazers’ first women’s volleyball MCAC championship won since the 2010 season.

Men’s Volleyball 
Don Dulder – Canadian Mennonite University
In his third season with the CMU men’s program, Dulder’s Blazers held the best regular season record in the Conference with a sterling 17-3 entering the Final Fours. The Blazers dominated the Final tournament, losing only a set in two games and lifting the MCAC men’s volleyball trophy for the first time since 1987 when a founding college of CMU (Canadian Mennonite Bible College), last won it.

Women’s Futsal
Doug Lawrie – Red River College
Head coach of the women’s soccer program as well, this was Doug Lawrie’s sixth season coaching Red River College. Both of Lawrie’s teams were some of the most responsible and defensively sound in the Conference, a recurring trend by teams under his watch. The RRC women’s futsal team had the best regular season record in the conference, going 7-2-1 en route to a win in the Copa de la Paz Championship Final that brought the trophy back to RRC for the second consecutive season.

Men’s Futsal
Yiannis Tsalatsidis & Nick Lisanti – Red River College
After losing in the 2016 MCAC Final, everything came together at the right time this season for the Rebels in order for them to avenge that loss and hoist the MCAC Futsal trophy in 2017. As head coach of RRC men’s soccer as well, Tsalatsidis’ fingerprints were all over a strong men’s program that has been a contender within the Conference for several seasons. But in the first month of the 2017 futsal season, Ysalatsidis was required to move as he got a position with the Saskatchewan Soccer Association. Assistant coach Nick Lisanti was handed the reigns to a gifted and well-organized Rebels team.  The Rebels finished third in the regular season standings with a 6-4 record, but the mix of talent, experience and team strategy compiled by Tsalatsidis and coached by Lisanti exceeded what fans may have expected from a three-seed. The Rebels won an extremely competitive season in MCAC futsal and both coaches had a huge part in the victory.

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