We are honouring two incredible women this year at the 52nd Annual Sport BC Athlete of the Year Awards on March 28, 2018 for their outstanding contribution to the advancement of women and girls in sport and physical activity:
Since 1995, Deb Huband has been the head coach of UBC Thunderbirds. She is the longest serving and most successful women’s basketball coach in school history, and is the only Thunderbirds basketball head coach, male or female, to win to three U SPORTS (formerly CIS) national championships.
On January 28, 2017 against Brandon, Huband – the wins leader amongst active Canada West coaches – earned her 300th victory in conference play. She will soon catch Kathy Shields, whose 320 triumphs at Victoria are the most in league history.
Under Huband, UBC reached the pinnacle of Canadian university women’s basketball in 2004, 2006, and 2008. The team also won U SPORTS silver in 2012, and bronze in 2015, and earned Canada West conference championships on four different occasions (2007, 2008, 2012, and 2015).
Individually, she merited the U SPORTS Coach of the Year honour in 2004, after sharing the award at the conference level. After UBC’s national title triumph in 2008, Huband was named the Basketball BC University Coach of the Year.
Before becoming head coach at UBC, she served a stint as an assistant from 1988-91.
Huband has served her country for over a decade in various coaching roles with Canada Basketball. She started as an assistant with the senior national team in 1998, and served in the same role at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She was the mentor coach on the Cadette women’s team that competed at the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship in Rodez, France.
She helped coach Canada to a silver medal at the 1999 Pan American Games and was the head coach of Canada’s squad at the 2003 Summer Universiade in Korea.
Huband’s other roles have included:
Assistant coach – Canada Summer Universiade team in 2005 (Turkey)
Assistant coach – Canada Under-20 team in 2006
Co-head coach – Canada Summer Universiade team in 2009 (Serbia)
Huband is one of the few Canadian basketball players to participate as both a player and coach in the Summer Olympics. One of the finest our country has ever produced, Huband joined the national team as a player in 1978, and was the starting point guard and captain of the Canadian squad that earned a fourth-place finish at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. She was also the starting point guard of the bronze medal-winning world championship teams in ‘79 and ‘86.
A graduate of Bishop’s and UBC (Masters of Science in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology), Huband was a three-time U SPORTS All-Canadian and was inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame in 1994, and the Basketball BC Hall of Fame in 2017. She also holds a spot in the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame, the Basketball Ontario Hall of Fame and the Concordia Hall of Fame (along with her 1976-77 teammates). She has also been honoured by the Nepean Sports Hall of Fame and has a place on the Bishop’s University Wall of Distinction.
Huband is still tied for the all-time U SPORTS record for points in a game, scoring 50 with Bishop’s in 1981-82.
Born in Ottawa, Huband also lived in Ontario, Quebec and New Jersey before settling in Vancouver in 1980.
2007-present FIFA Referee
2008 U17 CONCACAF Qualifiers ( Trinidad)
2008 U17 FIFA World Cup (New Zealand)
2009 World University Games (Serbia)
2010 FIFA Algarve Cup (Portugal)
2010 U17 CONCACAF Qualifiers (Costa Rica)
2010 FIFA Youth Olympics (Singapore)
2010 U17 FIFA World Cup (Trinidad)
2012 U17 CONCACAF Qualifiers (Guatemala)
2014 U20 FIFA World Cup (Canada)
2014 CONCACAF CAC Games (Mexico)
2015 FIFA WC Selection Camp (Portugal)
2015 FIFA WC Seminar for Officials (Zurich)
2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup (Canada)
2016 Olympic Qualifers (USA)
2016 Elite Referee Seminar (USA)
2017 SheBelieves Cup Germ vs Eng (USA)
2017 Futuro Instructors Course (Jamaica)
2017 Instructor Elite CONCACAF Course (Costa Rica)
Growing up in Kamloops BC, I played soccer all through my youth. At the age of 19, after seeing an ad in the local paper, my mom suggested that I take a refereeing course to help earn extra money while going to University. After finishing my Bachelor of Science Degree at TRU, I moved down to Vancouver to pursue an Education Degree. I continued my refereeing career that had begun in Kamloops when I moved to the lower mainland.
In 2006 I was nominated to the National Referee list and was fortunate to receive my FIFA Referee badge in 2007. I struggled through an injury for most of 2007, and in 2008 I was appointed to my 1st ever international game – Canada vs Brazil at BMO Field in Toronto with 15, 000 fans!
Since this game, I have been blessed with many amazing opportunities from both CONCACAF and FIFA. I have been to 3 FIFA Youth World Cups and been part of the final games in all 3!
I think the thing I am most proud of is the fact that I have been able to become a mother and still continue to referee at the highest level. In 2011 I took a year off to have my daughter, and in 2013 I took a second year off to have twin boys! Although it has been a struggle to return to match fitness, and keep up with all the expectations that come along with being a top-level referee, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I am blessed with 3 beautiful children, an amazing supportive husband and a referee career that I am very proud of.
As I retire off the FIFA list this year in 2017, I am fortunate to have been named as a FIFA Instructor and will attend the Master Course in Doha, Qatar in February 2018. Being able to stay an active part of this game, which has given me so much, is an honor that I do not take lightly.