Gabrielle Wishart, coach of Team Manitoba's U16 Male Volleyball squad, recently earned Sport Manitoba's Coach of the Year award. Reflecting on her achievement, Wishart expressed gratitude, acknowledging the exceptional efforts of her athletes.

"It's pretty crazy," Wishart exclaims. "I'm honestly pretty humbled by it. I was not expecting it at all. Manitoba has some pretty phenomenal coaches across the province who I feel put in as much, if not more, time and effort coaching. It's just a huge, huge honour."

Under the leadership of Wishart, who is a Red River Métis, as well as a member of the Manitoba Métis Federation Portage Local, the team clinched a gold medal at the 2023 North American Indigenous Games in Halifax, with an impressive 8-0 record. The coach credits her team's success to their dedication and hard work, emphasizing their meticulous preparation.

"Right from the get-go, they called this a 'Business trip'. Because they were there to win, and they were there to work hard and do whatever it took to win. Before our first game, one of my captains handed me a sheet full of notes on the other team from videos he had watched online. They were constantly reassessing their play, watching videos over the week of them playing and changing their style to adapt to the different teams. It was pretty phenomenal."

Wishart's accolades also include the Peter Williamson Memorial Award, which is given to coaches who work with athletes who compete at the national or international level. 

Beyond coaching, Wishart serves on the Volleyball Manitoba Board of Directors, advocating for inclusivity within the sport. Looking ahead, she remains committed to nurturing young talent and continuing her coaching journey.

"I wouldn't have been able to do this coaching without the support of my husband, without the support of my family and my friends. They all know that I'm absolutely crazy about volleyball. I could talk about it nonstop. I'm constantly following stuff on the stats and from other countries and trying to stay relevant on new developing tactics and skills. Sometimes I drive them crazy with how much I've talked about it, but I wouldn't be able to do any of it without them behind me every step of the way."

Gabby Wishart