By Ali Amad
There’s something about Humber College that keeps its athletes coming back.
Humber College has a history of alumni sticking around after they’ve graduated. Ray Wong, Humber’s varsity badminton head coach, is part of the newer generation of alumni and has returned to continue his work with athletics here.
Wong moved to Canada from Hong Kong at the age of 10 and picked up an obsession with badminton soon after. It was with Humber that Wong managed to channel his lifelong passion. A national gold medallist and three-time OCAA champion, Wong became a member of Humber’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012.
Now in his third season as head coach, Wong found the transition from player to coach an interesting new challenge.
“It was so different. When I was playing, I was worried about myself and how I did on the court,” he said. “But now, I worry about the whole team, the school, everything.”
The women’s volleyball coaching staff is also full of former varsity players. Assistant coach Dean Wylie played for the men’s volleyball team 20 years ago.
“I just wanted to coach and give back to the program and make sure the mantle is passed forward,” Wylie said.
Alongside Wylie, Rachel Dubbledam has been an assistant coach since graduating from Humber in 2009. Dubbledam also played varsity volleyball, captaining the women’s team to back-to-back gold medals in provincials. She got hooked on volleyball from a very young age but lost track after graduating high school.
It was at Humber that she rediscovered her calling.
It was a simple email to Wilkins and an invitation to training camp that brought her back to the court. Eleven successful years later, Dubbledam thinks Humber’s got a good thing going and simply wants to remain a part of it.
“After you’ve played for five years, you get really close to the school and the coaches,” Dubbledam said.
She also has her own take on why alumni don’t seem to ever want to leave.
“I think it’s the family atmosphere and the attention to detail the athletic department has,” Dubbledam said. “They’ve set up a great department in terms of how it’s run and the quality of coaches they bring in and making sure the athletes have a good support system here and the best experience they can have.”