Lisa Thomaidis will not return as head coach of Canada’s national women’s basketball team, ending a nearly decade-long streak at the helm of the program.
Canada Basketball said in a statement Tuesday that the organization and Thomaidis have “mutually agreed to separate.” Thomaidis’ contract expired at the end of September.
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Thomaidis was named the head coach of the women’s national team in 2013 and led the team to fourth place in the FIBA world, the highest in the program’s history. She leaves with an 83-44 record at the helm.
However, the team fell short of expectations this summer at the Tokyo Olympics by failing to advance to the medal round.
The team was hit hard by restrictions around the COVID-19 pandemic, and the entire team went 18 months without playing together before an Olympic opening loss to Serbia on July 26.
“Leading our Canadian senior women’s national team for the past nine years has been the highest honor and an absolute privilege,” Thomaidis said in a statement. “Our achievements have been historic and we had a hard time working with a true team.”
Thomaidis, from Dundas, Ontario, coached Canada to the quarterfinals at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and gold medals at the 2015 Pan American Games, the 2015 FIBA Americas Women’s Championship and the 2017 FIBA Women’s AmeriCup.
“The chapters are closed, but the memories last a lifetime,” the veteran of the women’s team Natalie Achonwa posted on Twitter. “Thank you Lisa Thomaidis for all that you have done and done for me and our SWNT program.
“From 16-year-old Nat to 3 Olympics later … the tears, the laughs, the cellys … it’s been an incredible journey.”
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Before being named head coach, Thomaidis was an assistant coach for the past 12 years after joining Allison McNeill’s staff in 2001.
“After careful consideration and discussion with Lisa, we both recognize that this is a necessary step that our program must take in our continued search for a place on the podium in the highest international competitions, as well as for Lisa, both personally and professionally. . ”Denise Dignard, Canada Basketball General Manager and Executive Vice President, Women’s High Performance, said in a statement.
“There is no doubt that Lisa has been instrumental in the long-term growth and success of this team, which includes taking us to fourth place in the FIBA world ranking, the best program.”
Thomaidis has also been a head coach at the University of Saskatchewan for more than 20 years, winning twice as U Sport’s Coach of the Year. Since taking over as head coach in 1998, she has led the Huskies to seven Western Canada titles and two national titles, including in 2020 at one of the last major sporting events in Canada before COVID-19.
The Huskies have made the U Sports Final 8 tournament 13 times, including 12 of the last 13 seasons.
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