Two VIU Mariners Alumni Take on New Roles as Apprentice Coaches

Kayla Gromme and Emma Platner

Kayla Gromme (L) and Emma Platner returned as apprentice coaches after being selected as participants in the CCAA National Female Apprentice Coach Program.

November 1, 2021 - 12:45pm

The pair were selected as participants in this year's CCAA Female Apprentice Coach Program.

Two Vancouver Island University (VIU) Mariners alumni have returned as apprentice coaches after being selected as participants in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) National Female Apprentice Coach Program (FACP).

Emma Platner and Kayla Gromme will be on the sidelines this year assisting the basketball team coaches and running training and practice regiments for varsity athletes, with Platner on the women’s side and Gromme on the men’s side.

Platner, who is originally from Oregon, joined the Mariners women’s basketball team in 2017. She graduated from VIU in 2019 with a Physical Education diploma.

“From a young age, I’ve always wanted to be a basketball coach,” says Platner. “The program means so much because we get to interact with other coaches in the program and learn from what they do. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to continue to coach, impact younger lives and grow as a person myself as well.”

“Emma loves the game,” says Tony Bryce, head coach of VIU women’s basketball. “She was a great player for us and from a coaching perspective, she has a great feel for the game. I am honoured to work with her, grow with her and learn from her.”

Platner says Bryce played a big role in her decision to suit up for the Mariners.

“We had a really good connection right off the bat,” she says. “VIU seemed like a great place and Vancouver Island in general is just absolutely beautiful.”

Off the court, Platner works locally in the construction field and has applied for permanent residency. If successful with that, she plans to go into law enforcement.

This will be her second year as part of the FACP.

“I came here not knowing at first what I was doing other than playing ball and going to school,” she says. “I made family up here and I don’t want to leave. I just want to keep growing as a person and pursuing my goals.”

Gromme joined the Mariners “for the first time” a decade ago, playing three seasons of basketball and then returned to play in the 2019-20 season. She started her academic career in the Child and Youth Care program and then came back to pursue her passion for fitness through the Physical Education program.

“I originally came to VIU because a good friend of mine was on the team and I was looking at coming back to the sport after taking a year off following my experience at Idaho State. I wasn’t done with hoops and I thought it would be fun to play alongside her,” says Gromme. “My second comeback was purely because I missed the sport, the competitiveness and the team atmosphere.”

She now works locally as a personal trainer, although she is currently taking some time away from her clients and classes after welcoming her new baby girl this past February.

Even so, Gromme says it feels “amazing” to be selected as an apprentice coach this year.

She’ll be working with Mark Simpson, her mentor coach through the FACP.

“I’ve known my mentor Mark Simpson for many years and he’s a true legend in the game,” says Gromme. “Learning from him will be an incredible experience.”

Simpson says Gromme “brings a very enthusiastic, energetic personality” to the team.

“Kayla was an excellent athlete and is certainly a deserving candidate for the program,” he adds.

Looking ahead to this season, Gromme is thankful for the opportunity to support the men’s team.

“Being part of the men’s program as a female role model is a very cool change-up for the game,” she says. “It’s going to be a great season and I’m really looking forward to learning along the way.”

The commitment from the CCAA to develop female coaches and provide a program that helps post-secondary institutions support the program “is exciting and necessary in a male-dominated profession,” says VIU Athletics and Recreation Director Danielle Hyde, a former participant of the program herself. “I’m excited to see Kayla and Emma grow and develop their leadership abilities.”



Eric Zimmer, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

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Tags: CCAA | VIU alumni | VIU Mariners | Athletics

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