Newly named Critelli Cup honours Canadian basketball legend Chris Critelli

Newly named Critelli Cup honours Canadian basketball legend Chris Critelli

BURLINGTON, Ont. – Ontario University Athletics (OUA) is proud to announce that the women's basketball championship trophy has been named the Critelli Cup, honouring longtime Brock Badgers coach and sport administrator, Chris Critelli.

"When I heard I couldn't believe it," Critelli said.  "I'm honoured and I just can't believe it's happening to me.  It's probably one of the neatest things that has ever happened to me."  

For over 35 years, Critelli has played a large part in the development and overall growth of women's basketball in Canada both as a player and a coach.

"This is a great opportunity to recognize a leader within the OUA community, who as a student-athlete, coach and administrator has contributed to the growth of sport in Ontario," said Gord Grace, OUA CEO.  "Chris is a role model for female basketball players across the country and her hard work and dedication will be honoured every time someone hoists the Critelli Cup."  

The St. Catharines, Ont. native began coaching her hometown Badgers in 1982 and led the team to the playoffs in 22 of her 25 seasons.  She retired from coaching in April 2009 as the all-time winningest coach in Brock women's basketball history with 393 career victories.

In the 2005-06 season, Critelli established a new Brock single season OUA record with 19 conference wins, on the way to capturing first place in the OUA West Division.

"Being a basketball legend, not only in this community, but throughout the country and the world, Chris is an absolute legend and has done some incredible things," said Charles Kissi, Brock Badgers men's basketball head coach.

As a player, Critelli had much success on both sides of the border, as she was a three-time All-Canadian and an Academic All-American. She is the only individual to ever win both an NCAA and CIAU title, winning two CIAU titles at Laurentian (1976-78) and two NCAA titles with Old Dominion (1978-80).

At the age of 17, Critelli joined the Canadian National Team in 1974 and was a member for seven years including the 1976 and 1980 Olympic Teams. As a member of Team Canada, she won three bronze medals in 1979 at the Pan-Am Games, the World Championships and FISU games. 

When her playing days were over, Critelli was an assistant coach with the Canadian Junior National Team from 1986-1988 before becoming an assistant coach with the Canadian National Team the following year, a position she held until 1994.

Since retiring from coaching, Critelli has been the Assistant Athletic Director at Brock University and is a vital member of different OUA committees.

"[Chris] has been involved in the development of not only women's basketball here but all the programs we have here at Brock University," said Robert Hilson, former Brock Badgers athletic director.

Last year, Critelli was presented with the John McManus Award, which is given to a retired OUA coach that exemplifies the highest ideals and qualities of sportsmanship and service while engaged in coaching in university sport.

The Critelli Cup will be awarded for the first time on Saturday, Mar. 12 at the OUA women's basketball Final Four tournament, which will be hosted by the highest remaining seed following the quarterfinal round.