From interim to head

Courtney Gerwing selected as the head women’s basketball coach

By Courtnie Martin, Sports Reporter

When the women’s basketball team lost its head coach, Curtis Nelson, just before winter break, the scramble to find the perfect replacement for the very green team was on. The search ended well, and ultimately Courtney Gerwing accepted the position as interim head coach, allowing the team to finish out their season without undue stress. With the season and a series of interviews over, Gerwing can now remove “interim” from her title.

Gerwing’s work with the team was no doubt a strong factor in her hiring. With both an impressive CIS athletic and academic background as a player and assistant coach, Gerwing had the resumé for the job; the question was whether that would translate to the court. She took the Royals from a season potentially headed for a no-show at the Douglas College-hosted playoffs, to a gold medal game appearance. Although they fell short, the team’s finish was a perfect showing for her talent and knowledge of the game with just slightly over two months with the group. The Cinderella story run definitely stuck with the team.

“It’s kind of fitting in a way. We had some adversity that we got through and really rallied towards the end of the year. I still think we surprised other people more than we surprised ourselves by making it to provincials and then winning a silver medal. So the ‘Cinderella’ is fitting in our ranking in that each of our wins at provincials and our overall finish as second were all upsets of sorts,” said Gerwing.

Even though Gerwing had done well, the players still nervously awaited the news of the new head coach. However, they needn’t have. After going through an interviewing panel and completing a 40-minute on-court session with the team, the obvious candidate had been chosen. Gerwing officially sealed the title of head coach.

She talked about her pre-interview jitters: “It’s a position and an opportunity that I really care about and therefore approached it as prepared as possible, but there were definitely nerves. Interviews are not my strong suit. I’d much prefer the on-court session.”

“I was relieved when we found out coach Courtney would be staying. Our team has grown so much with her and I couldn’t imagine having another coach after her. I couldn’t be happier with the decision,” said guard Amber Beasley.

After the end of the season while things were still in limbo, Gerwing continued to stay involved with the team throughout the entire interview process—it was business as usual with the team continuing its 6 a.m. workouts and late evening scrimmages.

Being a bit behind the recruiting game with all the new adjustments, Gerwing is quickly looking to get the ball rolling. She also expressed the importance of longevity when it comes to recruiting: “Recruiting is about longevity. It’s important to realize recruiting is done with three to four years ahead in mind rather than just season by season. We will have a tryout and start down some avenues with potential student-athletes, always keeping in mind that we are building a program, and that is only accomplished with long-term planning and recruiting in mind.” She also plans to implement a lot of skill development over the summer.

The change in the team’s game is evident to more than just the squad itself. “Because we travel quite a bit, I have an opportunity to watch the girls play before we do and I have seen their performance peak tremendously. Whatever coach Courtney is doing is definitely working,” commented men’s basketball player Grant Campbell. “Their defence has gotten much better as well.”