Good basketball players, good community ambassadors. Those are the kind of young women Ashley MacSporran wants on her team.
The Brock Badgers ushered in a new era Wednesday morning when MacSporran was introduced as the next head coach of the Badgers women’s basketball team.
Landing a head coaching position in an Ontario University Athletics program has long been the goal for the Kitchener/Waterloo-born MacSporran, but it was Brock’s success both on the court and in the stands that drew her to the St. Catharines university.
She said she first noticed the Badgers fans and the #WeAreReady campaign during a playoff game in Ottawa.
“Brock was playing just after us and in rolls these waves of fans. It was awesome. You just don’t see student-based fans in Canada like that, but it’s happening at Brock. I can’t wait to be part of that,” she said.
MacSporran played her university basketball at Laurentian before a knee injury ended her career. She moved into coaching, getting initial experience in B.C. before serving as head coach of the Concordia University College women’s team in Edmonton. She joined the Guelph Gryphons as assistant coach for two years and then moved to the University of Windsor as an assistant last season.
She said her experience as a player helps her connect with the team.
“I understand where the players are coming from. I can relate to them,” said MacSporran, who describes her coaching style as enthusiastic and positive. “I’ve found it easier to make calls and get the players to trust me a little bit better because I’ve been there and been through those experiences.”
She said that while Brock’s past success is something she’ll strive for, she sees this as a new beginning for the Badgers women’s team.
“It’s definitely a fresh start. How we represent ourselves in the community, it’s going to be all fresh and brand new,” she said. “I’ve got some great ideas to jump along with what Brock is already doing. The more you get these young women out in the community and get them involved, it just helps them excel and grow later in life. It’s not all about basketball.”
Neil Lumsden, Director of Athletics and Recreation, said he’s looking forward to seeing the direction MacSporran takes the team.
“One of the keys is she has worked with some of the best coaches and programs in the country and therefore has learned what it takes to lead a solid, competitive and sustainable program,” Lumsden said.
“Based on her extensive plan that has to do with engaging our students, reaching out to alumni, and maintaining a focus on Brock University, she has basically encompassed all the elements that are required to build a championship program both on and off the court.”