Alumna Nicole Unrau (B.Ed. 2011; nee Breker), a math teacher at Humboldt Collegiate Institute (HCI) with Horizon School Division is the recipient of the 2015 Bob Adams Foundation Saskatchewan Athletics Female Coach of the Year Award, which she was honoured with on October 24 at the Saskatchewan Athletics Annual Awards Banquet. Unrau grew up in Muenster, Saskatchewan where she attended school, and was influenced by her physical education and math teacher, and track and field coach, Marvin Renneberg. “He inspired me to go to track and field camps and to get more involved with the sport. He also inspired me to become a math teacher,” recalls Unrau.
While a student in the Faculty of Education, University of Regina, Unrau enjoyed competing for the U of R Cougars. It “was always a lot of fun. It taught commitment and dedication towards things you love doing,” says Unrau. This experience with the Cougars, “Inspired me to want to give back to the sport through coaching,” she says.
Immediately after graduating from the Bachelor of Education (secondary) program with a major in math and minor in physical education, Unrau was hired to teach in St. Brieux. “This was an awesome opportunity as it allowed me to gain teaching experience in a small community atmosphere,” says Unrau. “The community and school were very supportive of my teaching and coaching strategies.”
After two and a half years teaching in St. Brieux, Unrau transferred to Humboldt Collegiate Institute, where she currently teaches. What she loves about her teaching is her work with students and athletes. “I love seeing them dream big and reach goals,” she says.
When Unrau heard she had been selected to receive the Female Coach of the Year Award she felt surprised and honoured. The award recognizes her success in coaching athletes who have been successful in competition, and who have been selected for Saskatchewan and university teams. Unrau coaches cross country and track and field for HCI and she founded the Quill Plains Track Club three years ago. “The club began as an opportunity for youth to get more involved in the sport, outside of the very short high school season. It quickly grew to a club of over 50 athletes, three coaches, and numerous volunteers. The club has had some very successful athletes, some of whom are now entering university programs and attending Provincial/Western meets,” she explains. Before joining the Quill Plains Track Club, the athletes had “very little exposure to the sport. Now, they are dreaming to reach the next level.”
The creation of this program is what makes Unrau feel proud. “A program was needed in our rural area. We serve athletes from a 100 km. radius around Humboldt, giving athletes opportunities that they would have had to travel to Saskatoon or Regina for, otherwise,” says Unrau.
Coaching extends to Unrau’s role in the classroom where she focuses on building positive relationships with her students, helping them to become more inspired to achieve both inside and outside of the classroom.
Unrau plans to continue in with the program, and hopes to help more athletes reach university team levels.