Female Apprentice Coach Program: Basketball

Female Apprentice Coach Program: Basketball

The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) is proud to announce its 2019-20 participants in the annual Female Apprentice Coach Program (FACP) for the sport of Basketball.

Douglas Royals, PACWEST

Apprentice: Hannah Klassen
Mentor: Steve Beauchamp

Despite having her collegiate career cut short due to injuries, Hannah Klassen has demonstrated a high level of commitment, dedication and maturity in her new role as a support coach with the Douglas Royals.

Klassen will continue in a more formal manner this season, as an FACP apprentice under former Head Coach Steve Beauchamp.

“Hannah’s enthusiasm and love for the sport of basketball flourished as her involvement transitioned from playing to coaching,” said Brian McLennon, Associate Director, Athletics at Douglas College.

After three seasons with the Briercrest Clippers in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC), Klassen returned home to British Columbia and suited up for the Royals in the Pacific Western Athletic Conference (PACWEST) in 2017.

It would be her final season however as Klassen was hampered by her physical limitations resulting from a previous Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury. While obviously disappointed, she learned all about resiliency and determination, while developing a passion to pursue the game as a coach.

“Basketball has taught me a lot and to have a platform to encourage, support and coach other women basketball players is something I am super passionate about,” she said.

Klassen is thrilled to get the opportunity to learn and grow as a coach in the FACP.

“I want to make sure that I am a voice of encouragement and confidence to the girls throughout the season in order to ensure maximum success,” she said.

Klassen will work closely with Beauchamp, who has once previously served as a mentor in the FACP. He has more than 30 years of coaching experience and has always welcomed and encouraged his players to get involved in coaching. In 2003, Beauchamp established an U13 girls’ community-based team, which he continues to run with the assistance of several former players who work with young girls throughout the season.

With a completely revamped Royals roster heading into the 2019-20 season, Beauchamp believes Klassen is the ideal candidate as an apprentice coach.

“She has experience as an ‘Athletes in Action’ coach and was an excellent player coach at past Douglas College youth camps,” he said. “She relates well to younger athletes and is a good basketball skills technician, two qualities we need with our young team this year.”

MSVU Mystics, ACAA

Apprentice: Maria Carroll
Mentor: Mark Forward

Maria Carroll has experienced the highs and lows of varsity Women’s Basketball and considers her five seasons with the MSVU Mystics as the most transformative years of her life.

After Carroll’s collegiate playing career came to an end last March at the CCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship, she will return to the team this fall as an apprentice under former Head Coach Mark Forward.

“Being a varsity student-athlete is very demanding in many ways but also teaches time management, resilience, conflict management and most importantly provides a constant support system like no other,” said Carroll, who was named a CCAA All-Canadian last season.

As an athlete in the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA), she was taught to be a student of the game, and Carroll will continue to take this approach as she transitions into coaching.

“With the help and guidance of Coach Forward, I was pushed to be the best player I could be, and I know that as an apprentice, he will also help and guide me to be the best coach I can be,” she said.

While at MSVU, Carroll served as a basketball camp leader and for the last three seasons, she has volunteered as co-head coach of the Nova Scotia Mercury girls U14 club team. Over that time, Carroll has gained confidence in her ability to teach, inspire and connect with players.

“I have noticed my own growth as a coach to develop individual skills, teach concepts and the effort needed to run effective practices and coach in games,” she said.

Forward, the reigning CCAA Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year, believes Carroll has the enthusiasm, maturity and drive to be a wonderful coach – the kind student-athletes will want to play for.

“Maria brings a positive energy into any room or gym she walks into,” said Forward, who has guided the Mystics for 10 years. “She has earned an enormous amount of respect with our players and coaching staff as well as around the ACAA.”

According to June Lumsden, Director of Athletics & Recreation at MSVU, Carroll is a natural leader who has the gift of inspiring others and getting the most out of every experience.

“Maria’s aspiration to be a coach and her love for the game of basketball and people is evident in her life choices and community work,” said Lumsden. “Maria is an outstanding person who has the skill set, the life experiences and passion to learn.”

Olds Broncos, ACAC

Apprentice: Leah Vandenboogaard
Mentor: Avery Harrison

The defending champions in CCAA Women’s Basketball have strengthened their bench for the 2019-20 season.

Leah Vandenboogaard, who played in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) for five seasons, will join the Olds Broncos this season as an apprentice in the FACP.

She’ll be mentored by veteran Head Coach Avery Harrison, who is entering his 34th season as a coach in the CCAA. Last season, Harrison guided the Broncos to their first ever National Championship title.

“I have had the great fortune to have some outstanding athletes and assistant coaches and several have gone on to coaching careers of their own,” said Harrison. “To me, this may be a greater accomplishment than championships – being able to help others progress in their love of the sport.”

Vandenboogaard will get the opportunity to learn outstanding coaching leadership under Harrison’s mentorship.

During his illustrious career, Harrison has shared his knowledge in the areas of skill and drill development, game management, pre- and post-game team discussions, video analysis and tactical interventions to assist with student-athlete improvement. Over the years, he has served as a mentor for many players and assistant coaches who are now coaching in the ACAC.

Vandenboogaard was a member of the NAIT Ooks from 2014-19 and attended CCAA National Championships in 2016 and 2017. She was a team captain at NAIT for three seasons and learned valuable leadership and interpersonal skills.

“Leah was a leader on and off the court with her desire to excel in both her academic and athletic programs,” said Linda Henderson, former Athletic Director at Olds and NAIT.

Vandenboogaard first became aware of the opportunities offered by the FACP when Ooks Head Coach Todd Warnick mentored Cassidy Taal during the 2017-18 season. Vandenboogaard feels fortunate to have had strong female influences in all aspects of her career.

“I have always had a female coach on my coaching staff and many strong females in the whole athletic department,” said Vandenboogaard. “I have looked up to all of these women and I am hoping I am going to be able to do that for other women around me.”

Dynamiques de Sainte-Foy, RSEQ

Apprentice: Laurie Pelletier
Mentor: Dave Laroche

For the last two seasons, Laurie Pelletier established herself as an assistant coach with the Division 3 Women’s Basketball team at Cégep de Sainte-Foy.

This season, Pelletier will join the Division 1 team as an apprentice in the FACP. She’ll be mentored by Head Coach Dave Laroche.

Cynthia Côté-Beaupré, Intercollegiate Program Director at Sainte-Foy, has monitored Pelletier’s progression and has been impressed with her development thus far as a coach.

“She stood out for her passion, her fighting spirit, her determination and her eagerness to give it her all,” said Côté-Beaupré. “Laurie demonstrates great leadership and self-reliance and makes sure that she is available to those she coaches.”

Pelletier, who has also coached at basketball summer camps, played for the Diablos de Trois-Rivières in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) before suiting up for the Rouge et Or de l’Université Laval (U Sports).

During her career, Pelletier had the privilege of playing for several dedicated individuals who allowed her to grow as a player and a person.

“At this time, I am looking to continue my journey as an apprentice coach in order to build upon my knowledge of basketball and team management, to apply everything I learned as a player and to enable young athletes to grow through this experience, as I was lucky enough to do,” said Pelletier.

Laroche, who is entering his 7th season with the Dynamiques, is excited to share his ideas, experience and passion through the FACP.

“Adjusting to this level of competition was a great challenge and now I’m ready for a new challenge that will allow me to expand my coaching profile in a stimulating environment,” he said. “This mentorship is an opportunity for me to give back and contribute to the development of coaches in my sport.”

Pelletier’s involvement with the team is very important to Côté-Beaupré and the Dynamiques as she joins an all-male coaching staff.

“There is no doubt that as a next-generation female coach, Laurie is a considerable asset to our team,” said Côté-Beaupré.


Apprentice: Victoria Brown
Mentor: Tony Bryce

After five seasons as a student-athlete with Vancouver Island University’s Women’s Basketball program, Victoria Brown will officially transition into coaching this year as an apprentice in the FACP.

She will be mentored by former Head Coach, Tony Bryce.

“I have had the opportunity to study the many different models of coaching as well as understand the female roles throughout sport history,” said Brown, who is a graduate of the Sport, Health and Physical Education program at VIU. “As I pursue my goal of becoming a coach in my community, I believe it is extremely important to have as much training and coaching experience as I can with athletes.”

Brown has coached at numerous VIU youth sport camps over the past five summers. In 2018, she co-organized the annual Future Mariner Basketball Tournament and taught Physical Literacy to youth on a study trip abroad to Belize.

She also collected three consecutive CCAA National Scholar Awards along the way.

While she already had a strong presence with the Mariners, Brown flourished when Bryce took over the team two years ago. She was named captain in her last two seasons at VIU.

Brown, however, suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in her fourth year of eligibility and in 2018-19, her season ended prematurely because of the injury. While disappointed, she provided leadership to the team from a new position.

“Taking her role as a leader seriously, Victoria moved from the playing court to the bench, inspiring her peers to an incredible season,” said Stephanie White, Director High Performance Sport, Recreation and Physical Literacy at VIU.

VIU went on to earn the Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST) title and placed fourth at the 2019 CCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship.

Bryce, the 2012 CCAA Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year, believes Brown’s experiences and commitment to excellence will be invaluable to himself, returning players and most importantly, new incoming student-athletes.

“She is a phenomenal person who is highly respected by her teammates and coaches,” said Bryce. “I truly feel Victoria has what it takes to be an outstanding coach and ambassador in women’s sport.”

For her part, White is committed to developing more female coaches in Nanaimo and on Vancouver Island. Having Brown on board will assist in developing a steady female coach presence in the program.

“I know the CCAA Female Apprentice Coach Program can help support that growth and will support the values of gender inclusion that I encourage at VIU.”

FACP Announcements

CCAA Soccer Apprentices: Sept. 12
CCAA Volleyball Apprentices: Sept. 26
CCAA Basketball Apprentices: Oct. 10
CCAA Additional Apprentices: Oct. 24