Legendary York field hockey coach honoured


Legendary field hockey coach Marina van der Merwe, who coached women”s field hockey at York from 1971 to 1999, was one of four women’s coaches in Canada honoured in October by the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) during Women’s History Month.

Van der Merwe’s term at the University was one of the longest standing coaching terms in interuniversity sports history. She earned six CIAU (Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union now called Canadian Interuniversity Sport) silver medals, two CIAU bronze medals and seven OUA (Ontario University Athletics) titles.

In the same period, she was the notable head coach of Canada’s women’s field hockey team 1976-1995. She took over the 16th ranked Canadian women”s field hockey team and led it to three Olympic Games appearances (1984, 1988, 1992) and silver and bronze medals at the 1983 and 1986 World Cups respectively. Over that period, the women”s field hockey squad was Canada”s best summer sports team, male or female.

“I expected my players to give their very best effort at all times,” said the now retired van der Merwe, who resides in Toronto. “I didn”t want to see any regression. It often made for tough decisions. These are people that you don”t dislike on a personal level, but as a coach you have to stick to your convictions. I was demanding.”

In honour of van der Merwe”s contribution to sport and health studies at York University, the athletics department presents the Marina van der Merwe Award to the York Yeowomen field hockey team member who displays excellence both on the field and in the classroom.

For more information on van der Merwe, visit the CAC Web site: http://www.coach.ca/WOMEN/e/whats_new/2002/10_28_merwe.htm.