It’s been a busy five years for RDC Queens basketball head coach Dawn Smyth, so little wonder she’s asked for, and been granted, a one-year leave of absence.
“I’ve coached nine teams over that period of time and helped with the guys during three post-season playoff runs,” explained Smyth. “I also worked with the Centre of Performance on weekends and I tried to do some stuff with the local high schools. It’s been great and I’ve been lucky enough that the college lets me do that sort of things, as it’s been really good experience.
“But it’s been a lot of basket in five years and it will be good to get a little down time.”
Smyth doesn’t plan on dropping basketball for the year.
“I’m looking at another opportunity to keep my hand in it . . . it will be different and I’ll also have some time for myself.”
Smyth would also like to travel and hopes to be completely refreshed when she returns to RDC for the 2013-14 season.
“At this point I’m planning on returning,” she said. “I love coaching, the community, the league, the college and my position. I just want to try something different and get refreshed. This job takes a lot of energy, and it deserves a lot of energy. You don’t want to short-change the girls.”
Smyth is grateful to the college for giving her the time off.
“RDC is such a wonderful institution to work for and has been great in its support in professional and personal growth for its employees.”
RDC director of athletics, Keith Hansen, knows how important taking some time off is for a coach.
“For me personally I’ve been here long enough to take a leave of absence and a sabbatical,” he said. “It’s invaluable in keeping your perspective and you realize how good we have it here at the college. It’s certainly beneficial to get away and come back refreshed.”
While Smyth has been granted time off she’s not done with the program this year.
“I’ll still be recruiting,” she said. “We have a few girls who have already committed and we’ll hold our camp at the end of March with a number of other prospects coming in.”
Hansen hopes to have a replacement coach in place by then.
“We’re posting an ad this week and hopefully we can find a suitable replacement quickly,” he explained. “It would be nice if the position is filled by the end of March, so the new person will be here for the camp.”
The posting will run until it’s filled.
Smyth will be on the selection committee and would like to find someone with similar ethics and energy.
“I’ll be in on the interview process and hopefully someone comes in quickly so he or she can get adjusted as quickly as possible so it’s a sweet transition.”
Hansen knows Smyth will work as hard as ever to find recruits to build the program.
“We know she will and depending on who we get a new coach may have different contacts and bring some players in as well.”
Smyth told her players earlier this week about the leave of absence. About half the team will return next season.
“We have a good nucleus back and girls who were committed this year. Unfortunately our record didn’t show how hard they worked.”