Queen’s Bench Boss Dave Wilson Reflects on All-Star Experience

Women’s basketball coach named U Sports coach of the year last season

Dave Wilson has been the head coach of Women’s Basketball for 38 years.

Gaels’ women’s basketball coach Dave Wilson has been enjoying his fair share of success lately. 

After leading the Queen’s women’s basketball team to the OUA Finals and then into the U Sports Championship Tournament, coach Wilson recently received the Coach of the Year award, which came with the honour of coaching Team Wilson at the OUA Women’s Basketball All-Star Game.

This year’s game, constituted as the 10th annual All-Star game, took place at York University on April 29 between Team Wilson and Team McAleenan, led by the head coach of the hometown York Lions. Wilson wasn’t the lone Gael at the event, as he was accompanied by players Robyn Pearson, Andrea Priamo, Emily Hazlett and Bridget Mulholland. 

Since the All-Star Game was first introduced, Wilson said it has provided a great experience for coaches, players and fans alike. 

“It’s a really neat experience because you find out such a different personality in players than what you see as an opponent on the basketball court,” said Wilson. “We’re there to have a good time, to try and be entertaining for the people who were in the stands and hopefully engage young female basketball prospects who were [in attendance].”

For Wilson, last year’s team is arguably the most successful he has coached. They went 18-1 in league play before falling in the OUA Finals against the top-ranked Carleton Ravens. With the second-place finish in the province and fourth at the U Sports National Championship, Wilson was incredibly proud of his team for their work ethic and consistency.

“It was gratifying for the players to get rewarded for the hard work that they put in this year,” Wilson said. “One of our goals coming into this year was that we would earn the right to host the OUA championships, and we did that. It was a great atmosphere and great experience for our players that I’m sure they’ll never forget.”

Since being named the team’s head coach 35 years ago, Wilson has cultivated a nationally admired program — a result of the team’s consistent success.  He credits the athletic department and the people he is surrounded by for this success.

“[I’ve had the] opportunity to work with some of the brightest and most motivated minds in the country,” Wilson said. “It’s a very enriching experience for my life to be able to have the opportunity to work with some great people.”

This is a common theme with Wilson. As much hard work as he has put in, he is always quick to acknowledge the time put in by the people around him. When reminiscing on winning the award for U Sports Coach of the Year, Wilson relayed that sentiment.

“It’s very flattering and humbling, and as much as I’d love to take credit for that, I’m not the one that does all the hard work,” Wilson said. “So for me, it’s more of a team award than it’s an individual award.”

It’s precisely this selfless attitude that has left a lasting impact on the players that he coaches and has coached over the years, who are quick to sing praise about the relationship they have with their coach.

For fourth year guard Sarah Saftich, Wilson is always there for the team on and off the court. 

“You can just tell that he really cares about his players and his focus is on not only our basketball skills but also on our character,” she said. “He has really helped develop us as women and as people.”

Saftich added that this feeling instilled by Wilson is infectious, allowing for everyone to be on the same page. 

“He makes his team into a family, and he’s really focused on the tradition at Queen’s and respect that we should have for the Kingston community, our school and ourselves.”

 

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