Sammy Fraser, New Olds College women’s volleyball head coach and Broncos camp coordinator, grew up in Red Deer and played on some championship teams
OLDS — New Olds College women’s volleyball head coach Sammy Fraser is coming home — almost.
She grew up in Red Deer and attended Red Deer College, now known as Red Deer Polytechnic (RDP).
Fraser, who will also serve as camp coordinator for the Olds College Broncos, replaces Rhonda Schmuland, who coached the team in the 2019-20 and 2021-22 seasons.
She was hired at the end of June.
“I know everyone always says that, but my family are really my number 1 fans,” Fraser said.
“They’ve followed my coaching career all over the country, so I know they’re so grateful that I’m slowly getting closer to home.”
As a member of Queens, Fraser won two Alberta Colleges Athletic Association (ACAC) championships and a Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) bronze medal in 2010.
In 2012, Fraser won a CCAA Silver Medal as a member of the Mount Royal College (now Mount Royal University) Varsity Cougars.
She recently served as an assistant coach for this team during their time in Usports competition.
Between her stints at Red Deer and Mount Royal, Fraser also spent time with the University of Calgary Dinos women’s volleyball program.
She will coach Team Alberta’s 19U team at the Canada Summer Games, August 6-21 in the Niagara region of Ontario.
Fraser’s commitment to the development of youth volleyball in Alberta began while she was still playing.
She teamed up with her friends, including two-time Olympian and Men’s National Volleyball Team member Graham Vigrass, to start a private business in 2011 to reach athletes across the province.
From there, she started the Junior Cougars Volleyball Club in 2013.
Fraser sees an opportunity to build a solid base with the Broncos team.
“I know how special sport can be and I’ve always been passionate about bringing opportunities to communities that otherwise wouldn’t have them,” she said.
“It’s come full circle for me to now be in a position where I can help build something special in a town like Olds.”
In explaining what initially drew her to the Broncos, Fraser pointed to a shared vision of building community as a key factor in keeping her in athletics.
“I’ve been involved in athletics at different levels over the past 10 years and it can be easy to get overwhelmed by wins and losses, but it was clear that what OC Athletics are trying to build is going well at the beyond,” she said. .
“I’m in the business of empowering people around me to be the best they can be, and after getting to know the athletic department staff, I think they’re interested in doing the same.”
Olds College athletic director Trina Radcliffe is thrilled to have Fraser on board.
“We are so lucky to have Sammy join our Broncos family,” Radcliffe said. “I am beyond thrilled to add a coach with her knowledge, energy and genuine commitment to developing women on the court, in the classroom and in the community.”
Fraser said: “Working together to build our culture will be a major focus for our group. Gone are the days when a coach could single-handedly develop a team’s goals.
“I believe that if you really want to build a legacy that replaces your time as a leader, it takes a collaborative approach to building the culture of a program.
“I believe deeply in creating an experience beyond the volleyball court and that’s what makes me most excited about being at Olds College. We are all rooted in our passion for sport, community and the upliftment of women in our program.
The women’s volleyball team kicks off its 2022-23 season Oct. 21 at home against the Lethbridge College Kodiaks at the Ralph Klein Centre.
This article, edited by the Albertan, was provided by Geordie Carragher, Olds College Sports Information Coordinator.