UBC game-changer finds her place in the CW Hall of Fame

Former University of British Columbia volleyball great inducted


CALGARY - Erminia Russo is the newest member of the Canada West Hall of Fame, the conference announced Thursday. Russo played volleyball for three years at the University of British Columbia, instantly boosting the school’s profile in the sport before returning years later to complete her legacy.

Russo was considered the top volleyball recruit in British Columbia, but was also a star in basketball and track and field. Nicknamed “The Machine,” Russo was a menacing offensive threat with the versatility to play all three positions. In her first year as a Thunderbird, Russo cracked the starting line-up and led a youthful team to a Canada West silver.

Her leadership abilities were evident early on, as coaches awed over her poise and winning attitude. Russo was named to the conference’s top all-star team in her rookie season then became the first UBC women’s volleyball player to twice earn all-Canadian honours.

Russo traded her blue and gold for red and white as she donned the national team jersey for eight years. That span included a trip to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

"Erminia was strong in all aspects of the game, she played both the front and back really well. Her blocking was great – blocking being the most difficult skill to learn. She is one of the best I've seen, not just coached, but seen," said Sandy Silver, Russo's coach at UBC.

Her winning ways followed her into a coaching role as she assumed the position of head coach at UBC in 1997. Just one season later, she guided the team to the title of Canada West champions. Russo was named the CW and CIAU Coach of the Year before she added “Outstanding Young Alumnus” to her resumé. That award is given out annually to the UBC graduate under 40 whose endeavours have brought the most honour to the school.


For the last century, organized university sport has been a central part of the student experience at institutions across Western Canada. Beginning with the University of Manitoba capturing the first Western Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (WCIAU) men's hockey banner in 1919-20, student-athletes have been competing to reach their full potential in sport and the classroom, while enriching campus life. 

To commemorate 100 years of university sport across Western Canada, the Canada West Hall of Fame was created in the spring of 2019. This year's induction class will be unveiled throughout the summer of 2022.

VISIT: CanadaWestHallofFame.org

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.

About Canada West

Since 1972, Canada West (CW) has been a leader in Canadian university sport, working to provide our student-athletes the opportunities to excel in sport, the classroom, and their communities. CW and our 17 members from across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba collectively carry on a legacy of competitive excellence, as our champions proudly go on to represent the conference at U SPORTS national championships.

Canada West – training leaders, building champions.