Rugby coach honoured with community bursary

Julianne Zussman, assistant coach for the University of Victoria Vikes Women's rugby team, has been awarded the $2,000 Pacific Western Brewing (PWB) Community Foundation Hometown Heroes bursary.

"The Pacific Western Brewing Hometown Heroes Program is designed to support the goals of the 2015 Canada Winter Games," said Velox Rugby Football Club Director Marlene Donaldson. "These goals are all about sportsmanship, leadership and citizenship. Today is also about recognizing an outstanding athlete who believes in going for gold and puts down her very best every day."This is Zussman's first year as the assistance coach of the Vikes women's team, and in this time she has already had a tremendous impact on the team's success. This is the first year since 2011 that the Vikes have qualified for the Canada West Final Four. Zussman helped coached the team to an outstanding bronze-medal finish in the championship tournament.

Zussman was a player representative on the National Women's Team from 2009-12 where she advocated for consistent financial support for women's rugby. She continues to play for the Canadian national team. This summer, she represented Canada at the 2014 IRB Women's World Cup where the ladies won silver.

Zussman was a member of the first group of athletes who made Victoria a centralized national center for the Women's 7s team. This team has proven to be able to consistently compete with the best in the world, finishing the 2013 season in second place and being medal contenders at every tournament. She also is involved in the sport at the younger levels, refereeing high school girls.

In 2008, Zussman graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Arts, following up with a master's degree in Sports Administration in Lausanne, Switzerland at the International Academy of Sports Science in 2011. In the time of getting her master's, she took six months off of training with the national team, coming back even more motivated and driven to reach her goals in both rugby and her career.

"Throughout my career on the national team I have been disciplined in my pursuit of higher education and focused on giving back to the community," said Zussman. Zussman was honoured at the Velox Rugby Club on Oct. 23. More on the PWB Hometown Heroes bursary.

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Keywords: athletics, award, rowing

People: Julianne Zussman, Marlene Donaldson

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