Before coaching volleyball at every level and being a pioneer in the sport, Joely Christian-MacFarlane was a successful player for the University of Regina, earning two U SPORTS bronze medals and All-Canadian Honours. She played on the Junior National Team, helping earn a silver medal at the Junior NORCECA Championship and a berth to the Junior World Championships. She was also a member of the Senior National Team.
Transitioning into coaching in 2003, Christian-MacFarlane was the assistant coach at the University of Toronto and took the helm of Team Ontario at the Canada Games in 2005, going undefeated and leading the team to the first-ever gold medal. For that run, she was named Female Coach of the Year and then in 2006, she was honoured as the Ontario Volleyball Association Coach of the Year.
She took over as head coach at Queen’s University in 2007, leading the Gaels to two Final Four Championships and their first and only OUA Championship in 2011-12. After seven years, she moved to take over the women’s program at the Royal Military College, where she remains today. She has also been coaching the CISM Military Women’s National Team, helping the program to a fourth-place finish at the 2018 World Championships and sixth place at the 2020 World Military Games.
Volleyball Canada recently had a chance to talk with Christian-MacFarlane about her coaching career and some general thoughts on coaching in the sport.