RDC Queens head coach Dawn Smyth first approached Janine Day last summer about joining the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference basketball squad’s coaching staff.
Despite living and working in Sarnia, Ont., it didn’t take Day long to jump at the opportunity.
“I was able to take a leave of absence from the school. I’ve always coached and taught at the high school level and this was a great opportunity to see post-secondary athletics and what they’re all about,” said Day.
“I played CIS basketball at York University, so I knew that side as a player, but I wanted to see what coaching was all about.
“My school and board were gracious enough to give me the leave and Dawn and I got along well enough during the summer and had similar philosophies so it was a good fit for me.”
Day and Smyth met through a mutual acquaintance while coaching their respective provincial teams at the Canadian championships.
“Dawn is from Ottawa and my assistant coach was also from there and they knew each other,” explained Day.
“We’ve coached against each other for the past four years (at the U15 and U17 levels) and at the nationals you have a lot of time to meet and hang out with the other coaches. We met there and got to know each other.”
Day grew up in Sarnia and started coaching while in high school.
“I started with the younger programs and eventually moved up and helped my high school coach,” she explained.
“I eventually came back there (after university) and have taught and coached there for the past seven years.”
Day is in just her second month with the RDC program, but it’s everything she hoped for.
“It’s good, a lot of fun and I’ve learned a lot,” she said.
“It’s a nice change from working with high school kids. You can do more individual stuff with these kids. And it’s certainly different in that there’s more focus on watching game tapes, scouting reports and just harder practices and workouts.
“You don’t have that at the high school level. You’re a teacher first, then a coach.
“So it’s been a nice change and opened my eyes to the post-secondary setting.”
Day could spend one more season at RDC, if she so desires.
“I can take a two-year leave if I want, but it’s to early to tell for sure, but it’s a possibility.”
As for down the road she isn’t sure if she’ll take the step up to coach at the college or university level.
“I do enjoy teaching,” she said. “But I really haven’t sat down and evaluated if I want to do it. But this is a great opportunity for me and it’s something to add (to my resume) further down the road.”
The RDC basketball squads are on the road this weekend as they face The King’s University College in Edmonton Friday and Lakeland in Lloydminster Saturday.
• The hockey Queens, who are off to a slow start having won just one of six games, face 4-0 Mount Royal Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Arena and Saturday in Calgary.
• The volleyball teams play a home-and-home against Augustana University Friday at RDC and Saturday in Camrose.
The women get action underway at 6 p.m. both days with the men to follow.
• Basketball Kings fourth-year guard Adam Shaw and Jodi Sanguin, who is also a fourth-year student, shared the Boston Pizza RDC athlete of the week awards.
Shaw helped the Kings to a doubleheader sweep over Medicine Hat , finishing with 37 points, nine rebounds, eight steals and five assists in the two games.
Sanguin won the ACAC women’s cross-country title and led the RDC women to the team championship.
She’ll compete in the national finals, Nov. 13 in Fredericton, N.B., along with the rest of her teammates.