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."
June 21, 2017 McMaster women's basketball team heading to Taiwan
April 10, 2017 Peter-McNeilly and Paska Ryerson Athletes of the Year
March 29, 2017 Lindsay and Kajami-Keane named Ravens' Athletes of the Year
February 28, 2017 OUA announces 2016-17 Women's Basketball Major Awards and All-Stars
February 25, 2017 Marauders beat Mustangs, advance to Critelli Cup Final Four
February 25, 2017 Lancers advance to Final Four for 10th straight year with win over Rams
February 24, 2017 Critelli Cup Final Four spots on the line Saturday, live on OUA.tv
February 22, 2017 No. 11 Mustangs upset No. 6 Gee-Gees to move on to OUA quarter-finals
February 22, 2017 Rams pounce all over Lions, move to quarter-final against No. 4 Windsor
February 22, 2017 'Wolves beat Brock 67-47 to advance in the Critelli Cup playoffs
February 19, 2017 AROUND OUA: Gee-Gees finish season with big win over No. 8 Ryerson
February 11, 2017 AROUND OUA: Badgers down Thunderbirds 66-45
February 11, 2017 No. 5 Ravens hand No. 3 Gaels first loss in OUA.tv Marquee Matchup
February 9, 2017 No. 6 Lancers edge Golden Hawks 68-65 in the Clash at the Colosseum
February 5, 2017 CUSN Senior Spotlight Sunday: Emily Hazlett
February 4, 2017 AROUND OUA: Hazlett's heroics push No. 4 Gaels over No. 8 Rams 60-59
February 2, 2017 AROUND OUA: Paska leads Rams comeback over Lions
January 30, 2017 Fritsch, Traer named Investors Group OUA Athletes of the Week
January 26, 2017 Marauders hold off Rams in 76-74 win
January 18, 2017 Traer, Ravens earn key road win over rival Gee-Gees
January 17, 2017 Gee-Gees host No. 4 ranked Ravens tonight in Bytown Battle
January 16, 2017 AROUND OUA: Lancers come from behind to defeat Mustangs
January 12, 2017 AROUND OUA: No. 1 ranked Marauders overpower Hawks
January 9, 2017 A Haircut for her ‘Superman’
January 3, 2017 Marauders complete sweep at Thunder Selects Holiday Classic
December 29, 2016 AROUND OUA: Thunder Selects Tournament - Day 1
December 7, 2016 Lancers partner with Express for Clash at the Colosseum
December 7, 2016 Brock wrestling holds strong atop latest U Sports Top 10 rankings
December 5, 2016 Agada, Morrison named Investors Group OUA Athletes of the Week
December 5, 2016 No. 8 Rams knock off No. 5 Lancers 59-55 in OUA.tv Marquee Matchup
December 3, 2016 AROUND OUA: No. 1 ranked Marauders defeat Gee-Gees 69-50
December 1, 2016 AROUND OUA: Rams shut down OUA top scorer, win fifth straight
November 29, 2016 National leaders remain on top in latest U Sports Top 10 rankings
November 28, 2016 Wood, Boiago named Investors Group OUA Athletes of the Week
November 26, 2016 AROUND OUA: Rams win streak grows to four with victory over Algoma
November 24, 2016 AROUND OUA: Schenck, Morrison power Golden Hawks past Western
November 21, 2016 Graham, Ring named Investors Group OUA Athletes of the Week
November 21, 2016 Lancers remain unbeaten, defeat Thunderwolves 74-62
November 19, 2016 AROUND OUA: No. 1 Carleton stunned in season-opening loss at Algoma
November 17, 2016 AROUND OUA: Windsor dominates visiting Gryphons to improve to 3-0
July 26, 2016 Ravens to take on NCAA competition in Can-Am Shootout