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Lisa Thomaidis learns game from the coaching perspective

"Sport is more than a game to me because it teaches important life lessons such as hard work, cooperation, perseverance, responsibility and respect for all who are involved - teammates, coaches and officials."

While playing professional basketball in Greece, Lisa Thomaidis of Saskatoon suffered an injury that not only changed her vantage point - from playing on the court to sitting on the sidelines - but her perspective on her future in the sport.

"I got a chance to sit and watch a lot of practices," Thomaidis said in an interview with Canada Basketball. "It was probably during that time that I kind of realized I could be a better coach than I was a player, while watching the game from another perspective and understanding it in a different way."

Prior to playing professional basketball, Thomaidis was a student athlete for five years at McMaster University, where she was on the Dean's Honour List for three years and was named an Ontario University Athletics all-star three times.

She credits the coaches at McMaster, as well as some coaches in her younger years, for enabling her to make the transition from playing to coaching a smooth one.

"I've had some very accomplished coaches who I've been very lucky to compete against and share ideas with and bounce ideas off of," said Thomaidis. "Playing professionally was great but it was more of a life experience. Coaching at this level is something you can't replicate. It's a whole different ball game."

In 1998, Thomaidis became the head coach of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women's basketball team.

In the 2005-06 season, she helped the Huskies win their first-ever Canada West Championship. She went on to guide them to titles in 2010-11 and most recently in 2013-14. During her tenure as head coach - she's now in her sixteenth year - the Huskies have been consistently ranked in the Canadian Interuniversity Top 10 for the last eight years and have qualified for the CIS Championship six of the last seven seasons.

Along the way, her personal accolades have piled up. She has been named the Canada West Coach of the Year four times (2003-04, 2005-06, 2008-09 and 2010-11). She was inducted into the McMaster University Hall of Fame in October 2006 and in 2008-09 she became the first women's basketball coach at the U of S to be named the CIS Coach of the Year. She was honoured again with the award in 2010-11.

Thomaidis also has extensive experience coaching on the national level. After serving as an assistant coach with the Canadian Women's National Team from 2001-12, she was appointed the head coach in 2013. At the 2013 International Basketball Federation Americas Championship for Women, she led Canada to a silver medal, which was the team's best finish since 1995. The medal performance qualified Canada for a berth in the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women.

Thomaidis said she is extremely grateful for everything else that sports have given to her.

"Sport is more than a game to me because it teaches important life lessons such as hard work, cooperation, perseverance, responsibility and respect for all who are involved - teammates, coaches and officials."

Canada Basketball
Coaches Association of Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan Huskies ready to defend Canada West title
Canada Basketball names Lisa Thomaidis coach of senior women’s team



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