UBC Okanagan Heat coach Heather Semeniuk gives instructions to her team in Canada West women's basketball play.

UBC Okanagan Heat coach Heather Semeniuk gives instructions to her team in Canada West women's basketball play.

Semeniuk steps down from Heat

Long-time head coach Heather Semeniuk retiring from UBC Okanagan Heat following Canada West women's basketball season.

Heather Semeniuk, a name synonymous with basketball in the valley, will retire as head coach of the UBC Okanagan Heat women’s team this spring.

Going on her 21st year as head coach, Semeniuk has decided that the 2014-15 season will be her final season on the bench.

“Heather has put her heart and soul into this program,” said Rob Johnson, UBC Okanagan director of athletics and recreation. “And hundreds of student-athletes have benefited from her coaching and guidance. She’ll leave very big shoes to fill.”

When Semeniuk started in 1994, the Okanagan program was part of Okanagan University College which competed in the B.C. Colleges’ Athletics Association (BCCAA, now Pacwest) a conference of the Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association (CCAA). She coached in 298 regular-season games in that league and qualified for provincials in 14 of 17 years, twice winning gold.

The Heat joined Canada West in 2011.

The search for Semeniuk’s replacement starts immediately. The job posting closes Tuesday, Nov. 18. Details can be found at www.hr.ubc.ca/careers-postings/staff.php   (Job ID 19570).

Now competing in Canada West, the Heat are working to re-establish their reputation as a consistently competitive team. Johnson has some thoughts on the type of person he hopes will apply for the position.

“In addition to the obvious need for technical knowledge and experience, we need someone who has strong abilities as a recruiter, able to bring in students that will make us a regular contender for the Canada West championship,” said Johnson.