Few Ontario University Athletics coaches have had the good fortune to taste the success of Marina van der Merwe, this year’s recipient of the OUA’s John McManus Award for outstanding long-term coaching service in university sport.
Right: Marina van der Merwe
Van der Merwe took over both the field hockey and indoor hockey teams at York in 1971, leading each program to multiple provincial banners before retiring from the dual post in 1999. The powerhouse field hockey team won seven provincial championships in her tenure, in addition to six silver medals and two bronze medals at nationals. York’s indoor hockey team enjoyed similar success, taking seven provincial banners over the same period.
The highly-decorated van der Merwe coached 41 all-Canadians, more than 50 conference all-stars and numerous national team athletes in her stay at York. The former teacher at York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science was also Canada’s national team field hockey coach for 20 years from 1976 to 1996, grooming the squad into an international powerhouse. Van der Merwe stepped down from her coaching duties in 1999 and continued to teach at York for three more years before retiring. She was inducted into the York University Sport Hall of Fame in 2004.