Athletes are accustomed to basking in the glory of impressive performances and victories, and all too often, the architectural, coaching body of a team is left to play second fiddle when it comes to positive attention surrounding a team.
No such story applies to Huskies women’s basketball coach Lisa Thomaidis. As an assistant coach for Canada’s Senior Women’s National Team, Thomaidis recently traveled to CuiabÃ¡, Brazil for the Federation of International Basketball Associations’ Americas Championship. Beating Cuba in international competition for the first time in 14 years to clinch a 3rd place finish was a remarkable result for Canada, in part due to Thomaidis’s guidance and direction.
“It was a fantastic trip. It’s always great to play in Brazil because it’s a sporting nation,” said Thomaidis. “Every game there are 12,000 people screaming and yelling, so it’s a great atmosphere to play in. For me, it’s a tremendous opportunity to see the international game, see what other countries are doing and it gives me an inside look at some up and coming trends in international play.”
The bronze medal placing for Canada in Brazil earns the squad a berth to the 2010 World Championships in the Czech Republic, for which Thomaidis will also be on the sidelines. At the FIBA tournament, Canada was seeded into a pool alongside Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, while the alternate pool featured Argentina, Chile, Cuba and Venezuela. Alongside Canada, Brazil and Argentina also gained entry to the 2010 Czech Republic World Championships by placing first and second in the tournament.
This was the eighth consecutive year the Huskies coach was selected to fill a coaching role for Canada’s national team and Thomaidis has had no shortage of attention from the basketball community along the way.
Thomaidis’s coaching resume is extensive; the Huskies basketball program was in shambles when she took over in the 1998-99 CIS season and soon after, in 2000-01, Thomaidis led the Green and White to their first post-season appearance in 18 years.
Since 2001, the Huskies basketball guru has been at the helm of Canada’s national team for the Pan-American Games, World Championships and Olympic qualification tournaments in Mexico, Rio de Janeiro, Santo Domingo and the Dominican Republic. Also being named the Canada West and Canadian Interuniversity Sport basketball coach of the year in 2008-09, Thomaidis knows her international basketball expertise is essential when stepping back into the campus spotlight as a Huskies coach.
“It’s really helped in my development as a coach. I always try and bring stuff back. It might be something simple, how to teach a skill differently or offensively, it could be a set another country runs that we might try. There’ll be some things this year (the Huskies will) look at and see if it works for our personnel, but certainly it gives me a larger bank of information to draw from as a coach.”
With 11 returning and only two departing players, Thomaidis’s Huskies have a veteran look as the 2009 CIS season kicks off for the women’s basketball team against the Brandon Bobcats at the Physical Activity Complex on Nov. 6.
Though the season is about a month away, the Huskies won’t remain idle through October and will travel to Toronto and Winnipeg for upcoming non-conference tournaments at Ryerson University and the University of Manitoba.
photo Henry Harms