Katie Selman climbs the ladder from player to head coach


The department of athletics announced that Katie Selman will be the new head coach of the women’s rugby team.

She will try to continue the success of Jay and Leslie Shaw, who have served as the head coaches since 2010, leading the women’s rugby team to a 15–6 record and four straight playoff appearances. Under their wings, Selman served as the assistant coach for four years, disciplining her players on conditioning and strength.

An alumna of UW, Selman studied kinesiology from 2003, and graduated in 2008. Originally a skater for the figure skating team, she made the transition to rugby in 2005 and never looked back from there. After school, she stayed in Waterloo, finding a job for Blackberry and one month later she began her tenure as an assistant coach.

For Selman, her experience as an assistant coach will make the transition into the head coaching position a smooth one. 

“This transition has been fairly natural, I’ve been with this program for nine seasons. It’s just a little more upfront work with recruiting and the planning and trying to bring together a coaching staff.”

Last season, the women’s rugby team finished 3–3, losing to Western in the OUA quarter-finals, but the early exit will not affect Selman’s expectations for her first season at the helm. 

“I have every expectation to play in the playoffs and to compete in the OUA,” said Selman, “I don’t expect them to do anything that I haven’t already experienced myself.”

Although Selman can be very firm and clear with her instructions, she does not like to separate herself from her players and focuses on setting a team-oriented dynamic. 

“I’m working with the girls to try establish what their expectations are and what their vision is for the team so that we can come together and have a common goal … the girls are involved in setting the expectations so that they can be held accountable for those expectations,” said Selman.

Being a former player for UW, Selman can easily relate to her players. She knows what it is like to be a student first and a player second. 

“I know what the program’s like, I know what it’s like to compete,” said Selman. “I know what it’s like to try to balance your academic load as well as your athletic load.”

On top of her full-time job and head coaching position, Selman serves as assistant coach of the Waterloo County Rugby Club’s senior women’s team, as well as the head of their community involvement committee, which focuses on community events and initiatives, as well as promoting rugby to the city.

Her first order of business as head coach is to scout and recruit players and get prepared for training camp.


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