Winners of the 2019 OBA Coach of the Year, presented by Spalding Training Aids

Ontario Basketball is proud to announce the winners of the 2019 OBA Coach of the Year. An incredible 134 nominations were received this year. A special thank you to our partners at Spalding for making this award possible!

Male recipient: Mike Hurley, Pelham Panthers U14 Girls & U15 Boys


Coach Mike is the most dedicated coach I’ve ever met. Not only does Mike give his time to two teams with successful seasons in OBLX, he contributes to the Pelham Panthers community through skills sessions at house league, his annual summer shooting school and countless other camps and clinics that help players of all skill levels improve for nothing more than to share his love of basketball! Mike is always available on and off the court and it’s easy to see how much he cares about all the athletes who come through his gym. Mike’s name is synonymous with basketball in Pelham and you’d be hard pressed to find someone in the area that wouldn’t thank him for helping them on it off the court. As someone who is a better coach thanks to learning from Coach Mike, it is my honour to nominate him for coach of the year. Thank you.

Female recipient: Linda Quinn, North Toronto Huskies U14 Girls


Linda Quinn is the most caring person I have ever met. She is committed to making my team better individually and as a whole. She is inspiring because she dedicates her entire life to helping others; if she is not helping us get better, then she is helping those less fortunate in Toronto. She is a member on the board of KidSport and always donates to Covenant House. She even inspired our team to help out in the community by creating care packages for homeless youth of Toronto. Linda is so kind and caring. After a tough loss she keeps us happy. She doesn’t use our losses as an excuse to punish but instead to teach us from our mistakes. Linda has been my coach since day one, six years ago I tried out for her team and I’m so thankful to have met her. Last year Linda chose to be the assistant coach of our team and Dave Wright was the head coach. Unfortunately Dave passed away from cancer in September. Linda was supposed to step down from coaching this year but when Dave passed she chose to stay with us. She and Dave’s daughter, Katie have preserved through his death to support our team. Linda is finally retiring this year and she deserves Coach of the Year. I really hope you consider her.

This years’ winners receive a set of the new line of Spalding Training Aids, a series of basketball tools designed specifically for coaches and trainers to get the most out of their basketball prospects and for aspiring ballers who will do whatever it takes to take their game to the next level. In addition, honorable mentions for these awards each get to select two items.

To purchase Spalding training aids, please visit our official partner National Sports, or buy online at Sport Chek or



Male Honorable Mentions

Brian Daly, Hamilton Transway U12 Girls & U13 Girls

Brian has coached all levels of basketball, ranging from coaching 7 year olds in house leagues and rep, to coaching at the highest level of high school basketball while he was a teacher for many years at Cathedral High School in Hamilton. As a current high school principal, Brian still finds the time to coach two Transway teams. He stands steadfastly by the belief that kids need to play in order to develop as basketball players, and he proves his commitment to this belief by ensuring fair playing time on his Transway teams, even at the Grade 7 and 8 level, where this is not mandatory. He treats his players with respect, and he continues to make practices fun for his girls. Just recently, Brian coached his U13 girls team to win the Ontario Provincial Championship. Anyone who knows this team would know that this was an unexpected win, as they went in ranked #4 and are a team of mostly small, but mighty and determined (and very well coached) players. Brian is an extremely well respected coach in the basketball community, and any one of his basketball parents would give a testimonial to that fact.

Mark Deighan, Whitby Wildcats U12 Boys & U15 Boys

I am very happy to have the opportunity to nominate our Whitby Wildcats U12 Coach Mark Deighan for Coach of the Year. Mark is an outstanding coach with his dedication to developing each and every one of his players to perform at their best, his ability to build strong relationships with his team (including not just the kids but with the parents and his assistant coaches)  and the efforts he puts into bringing new and engaging drills to each practice.

Coach Mark started the season by having all the players and their families to his house for a team BBQ to offer an opportunity for the new members to bond with the current members. Throughout the season, Coach Mark has invested his time, energy and thoughtfulness for the team. He researches on his own time to plan drills and strategies which he shares with the boys during practices. Coach Mark teaches our players to be good people as his focus is on the team learning the fundamental skills of the game versus winning at all costs. Coach Mark demonstrates respect to referees and the opposing team and expects the same level of regard about proper basketball behavior to be shown from his players.

In addition, Coach Mark always offers the team constructive and helpful feedback to assist them in reaching their highest potential. Coach Mark delivers his coaching in a direct yet understanding way that makes all the players appreciate having him as their coach as they know his goal is to help them develop.  Coach Mark even impacts his assistant Coaches almost in a mentorship fashion as they both have expressed how much they learn from him.

What really stands out that demonstrates what an excellent coach Mark is, is when parents from opposing teams remark the sportsmanship our team has and that is a direct result of what Coach Mark demonstrates and expects from his team. Lastly, now that the basketball season has come to an end, Coach Mark is rewarding the team for their hard efforts by having a team celebration, once again for the players and their families.

In summary, Coach Mark truly encompasses every criteria for an exceptional coach and Whitby Wildcats is lucky to have him as a role model for our boys.  As a parent of a Wildcat player, I truly hope you select Coach Mark for this honour as there is no doubt from all the parents on the team that he absolutely deserves the recognition.

Chris Johnson, Durham Gators U11 Boys

Coach Chris Johnson deserves to be recognized as 2019 Coach of the Year because he gives his everything to our U11 boys. Chris is in his early 20’s, a time when most of us can remember being selfish and immature. However, Chris dedicates morning, noon, and night to developing and training young ballers. On top of coaching 2 teams with the Durham Gators, he also runs an extraordinary training program; Loaded Skills. He has put new meaning to the motto ‘ball is life’ and has provided so many new and exciting opportunities for our boys. Whether it be picking up and driving kids to and from practice, staying late to perfect a shot or a move, communicating with parents everyday, showing up at school games and events to cheer on his players, giving up weekends for tournaments, games and travelling far and wide to compete… he never complains and always has a positive attitude and smile on his face to support the team. His tough love approach has not gone unnoticed and the kids absolutely adore him and strive to work hard for their coach and for themselves. We, the parents, owe a lot to Coach Chris for continuing to foster a love for the game but also being an excellent male role model for our young boys. I haven’t even mentioned that he was able to coach the Gators U11 team to become OBA Provincial Champions as well as many other titles this season, which is a huge accomplishment in itself.  We have seen so much growth and development in our boys since Chris has become their coach and we are all very grateful for that. What better way to thank Coach Chris for all of his hard work, perseverance, and dedication, then to recognize him as the OBA 2019 Coach of the Year! We honestly do not think anyone is more deserving! Thank you for your consideration.

Sylvain Leboeuf, Milton Stags U11 Boys

We would like to nominate Coach Sylvain Leboeuf (U11 Boys – Milton Stags) as the 2019 Coach of the Year. Here is why we feel that Coach Sylvain should be recognized by OBA and Spalding as the 2019 Coach of the Year…

Coach Sylvain taught the U11 Boys team so much over the past season. His players developed skills both on and off the court, in the game and in life, learning how to win and how to lose, how to balance extracurricular with school, how to dream – thanks to Coach Sylvain.

To us, what sets Coach Sylvain apart from any other coach is his approach to connecting with his team. He is firm but fair with the boys and leads by example. He gets the boys to work hard at practice and works hard with them. One game in particular really stood out to us. It was a game part way into the beginning of the season, and Coach Sylvain asked the boys to coach themselves in that game, while he observed. It was really interesting to watch the boys step up and take control as leaders. They won this game – a lesson in working together, communicating and listening. Coach Sylvain was always looking for creative ways to coach and teach his team, to help the boys realize their potential and work for what he knew they each had in them.

When the Stags made it to the OBA Finals in Niagara Falls (March 29-31), Coach Sylvain had tears in his eyes as he announced to all the players and their families that the boys were playing for bronze. He was so proud of each and every player and made a point to let each player know. In the What’sApp team messages, Coach Sylvain would acknowledge each player for their specific contribution, making everyone feel like they had helped to get the team to where they were. He was always proud of the boys and their achievements. When we lost, you often wouldn’t have known, as the boys were still cheering for each other.

Coach Sylvain recognized that the team was not just about the coach and the players, but also about the parents and siblings. Whether it be parents driving their sons, brothers and sisters coming out to cheer on the team at an early morning game, parents helping each other out with transportation to and from practices and games – everyone was recognized by Coach Sylvain as part of the team! Family Day weekend was the perfect example of this – Coach Sylvain organized a Stags family outing where we went bowling together, had snacks and watched the NBA All-Star game, as a team and family. It wasn’t just about the boys and their coach getting together. Coach Sylvain made it very clear that parents and siblings were also a part of the team, the Stags family.

Our son Jackson had such a positive experience playing on Coach Sylvain’s team and learned so much from him. Jackson is so excited for his next season of basketball.

For these reasons, we feel that Coach Sylvain should be recognized by OBA and Spalding as the 2019 Coach of the Year. Thank you!

Brad Matsugu, Scarborough Blues U15 Boys

Brad cares about his players on and off the court. He drives players to practices, takes time to teach them basketball and also life lessons. Our team has been touched by breast cancer 3 times in 2 years. He has taught the boys to give back and that basketball is more than just a game. Brain tumour research is also close to his heart and he’s taught us how special each day is. Brad is a once in a lifetime kind, passionate and educated coach. He deserves to have his time in the spotlight.

Chad McPherson, KW Vipers U11 Girls & U12 Girls

Coach Chad has developed his U12 girls’ team since they were 8 years old. He not only works on their physical development, but their mental development as well. Chad has instilled the importance of respect, confidence, teamwork and sportsmanship in his training and development program. He spends time building on the girls’ skills, communication and the importance of team concepts. The girls have excelled under his leadership and enjoy training and development as much as they enjoy playing the game. He is a fantastic role model and dedicated coach. He teaches the players about the difference between being confident and cocky and how important respect is, in life and in the game of basketball. He encourages the girls to show respect to the refs and conveners by making eye contact and shaking hands after games. Coach Chad encourages team bonding and mentorship by having his players work on fundamentals with younger female ball players within our community. Coach Chad led these hard working talented girls to the Ontario Basketball U12 Provincial Championship and walked out with the gold, he is definitely earned OBA 2019 Coach of the year!

Carl Nelson, Huntsville Hurricanes U16 Girls & U19 Girls

Carl deserves coach of the year recognition for the last of his 48 years of coaching. He has won OFSAA championships, coached and helped develop multiple provincial team players but his best traits, particularly since co-founding the Huntsville Hurricane Basketball Club, are developing youth as individual players and people. His love for the game is unmatched and he has shared that with thousands of youth over the years, inspiring many to continue playing, aspiring to play at higher levels and setting an example for many who in turn gave back as coaches.

As a founding member of the Hurricanes he has coached every level, from U12 to U19 with both male and female teams over the past 28 years, including running the House League of up to 200 players every single year, as the primary controller of all skill development and mentor to all of the house league coaches. In his final season as a coach Carl was the assistant coach to both the Huntsville U16 and U19 girls teams, both very young squads, where individual skill development and inspiration of how to be quality young people was the highest priority, and he exceeded, as always.

Nathan Teague, Nike Bounce U14 Boys

Nathan has been a Basketball Ontario Coach since 1995 starting as an Assistant Coach of the Brampton Blue Devils Boys Major Midget Basketball Team.  From that point he then took on his own Minor Bantam Team with the Blue Devils escorting that team up to the 15-year age level.  He would then repeatedly return to the 9-10 year old age level utilizing his training skills to coach, develop and escort teams to the 15 year old age level transforming from the Brampton Blue Devils to Bounce Basketball. During this continuous transition he has seen many of his players become highly skilled University, College and Professional Basketball Players including Tristan Thompson, Dylan Ennis and Tyler Ennis.  He has also coached in Basketball Ontario’s BDP and MDP programs.  This year he is the Head Coach of the U14 Nike Bounce Team that won the Jr NBA OBLX Single Elimination Tournament and will represent Ontario in the Junior NBA Nationals.  His U14 Bounce Team were also Silver Medalists in the Ontario Basketball Provincials Championships just completed.  It is easy to recognize Coach Nathan Teague’s outstanding achievements and contributions to youth as a community coach in Basketball Ontario in many levels.  But this nomination also includes an observation of a compassionate caring individual who loves the game of basketball and is concerned about the development of youth in Canada on and off the court.  That is why Brampton Ontario Native Nathan Teague Junior receives my nomination as the OBA and Spalding 2019 Coach of the Year.

Chuck Winters, Halton Basketball Club U17 Girls

Chuck Winters has had a profound impact on my life, not just as a basketball player but as person. He has pushed me harder than any other coach and has believed in me when I haven’t always believed in myself. From our meditations and our chants (“let’s trip”), he has made us feel comfortable and made us laugh when our team needed some cheering up. We finished the season undefeated in all league games, tournaments and fourth in Ontario. I am so happy to have had such an incredible coach, friend and mentor. It was a basketball season I will never forget.



Female Honorable Mentions

Kristen Baumann, PMBA Mystics U12 Girls & U15 Girls

Kristen is the coach of my daughter’s PMBA Mystics U15 team and over the past 5 years has helped the girls move from bottom of the province to Division 1 gold medal winners. We went into this year’s Provincial tournament ranked 5th in the division, facing two teams we had lost to earlier in the season and came out undefeated! Kristen is the foundation of this incredible accomplishment. Kristen is a full time working mother and a dedicated coach of two teams, giving so much time and energy to this group of girls both on and off the court. Her coaching philosophy is to always lead with the highest of integrity, consistency, patience and kindness all while ensuring the girls are having fun. Her strength is the ability to know exactly what the team as a whole needs while respecting the girls individual needs – who may need some TLC, a little space or a laugh. She has very high expectations of the girls, teaching them to work hard and time manage which has proven invaluable. This group of girls have become very well rounded, most are honor students in high school, all while learning to balance school work, school sports and rep basketball, and part time jobs. This is emulated by Kristen.  I am full of gratitude that my daughter has had the honor of having such a strong female role model in her life all these years. It takes a village to raise a child and Kristen is a main pillar in our children’s community.  Our team, the PMBA, the OBA are all very lucky to have her as a basketball coach and role model.

Dale Bellaire, KW Vipers U19 Girls

As the head coach of the U19 Women Vipers, Dale is passionate about keeping girls involved in sports. Twenty-three players tried out this year, so Dale created two teams. Although it was impossible to coach both teams at games, Dale planned and ran practices for both. Dale motivates and inspires these young women both on and off the court. She is instrumental in helping them choose where they will pursue a post-secondary education, as well as helping them through the usual teen challenges. Her focus on fundamental skill development; supplementary conditioning sessions; and increasing basketball IQ has helped her teams build confidence in their game and allowed for continued improvement through the season. She brought in guest university coaches, and arranged a boxing class to build confidence. Dale dealt with some difficult issues on the team this season, including season-ending injuries for some players. Since the girls played on five different teams last year, she worked very hard to bring them together as a team. Dale’s messages of leadership and positivity helped the red team win silver and gold in back-to-back tournaments at tournaments in Michigan; and conclude a great season with a gold medal in Division 2 at OBAs.

Renée Brousseau, North Toronto Huskies U12 Girls

Please accept this nomination of Coach Renée Brousseau for Female OBA Coach of the Year. As a parent of three aspiring athletes, I have never nominated a coach for an award. Your description of the award winner sounds exactly like Coach Renée! Commitment: Coach Renée is highly organized and she offers to drive girls to practices and games. Relationships built: Coach Renée organizes sleepovers for the girls and books conference rooms at tournament hotels where the girls can relax and bond. Passion for development: She started taking the team to US tournaments when they were Novice! She stepped-up this year to coach the OSDP program, a significant commitment. Innovation: Coach Renée understands that ALL young athletes need role models. This can be more difficult for girls. She encourages her girls to understand the life of NCAA and WNBA athletes. She asked each girl to write a letter to a WNBA player. Guess what?  They responded! They even posted a video (see Coach Renée made basketball a big part of her life and is now using it as a way to give back. Coach Renée is an ideal female role model.

Janine Day, Wallaceburgh Airhawks U19 Girls

She’s been very successful at developing players to play at the next level, OUA and OCAA.   She not only trains them the skill of the game but also teaches them the importance of strength, fitness and mental toughness that is needed to play at the next level.   She won OFSSA AA with Wallaceburgh High school and also coaches U19 Wallaceburgh travel team that is ranked in top 3 and is a huge reason why Wallaceburgh and surrounding area is at all-time high for women’s basketball.  – Phil Milanis

Shanna Kokonis, York South Silver Knights U13 Girls

I am a parent of a player on Shanna’s U13 York South Silver Knights.  I also assist with the coaching. This is our third year with the team.  Shanna was referred to me through a friend of mine who is the co-owner of Elite Basketball.  She is a great role model for my daughter and the rest of the team. She coaches with her husband John who is the assistant coach and recently allowed me to assist as well. She does not have a child playing on the team.  She coaches because she loves doing it.  She is fully committed to the team and puts in countless hours of her personal time.  She is teaching the kids to be better people and better basketball players.  Last year the team finished in the second division.  This year, with the exact same roster as last year, we finished 3rd in the OBLX.  If you are not familiar with out team, we are the team that looks like we would be ok and don’t really have any dominant “superstar” players on it, but for some reason, we just win.  That some reason is thanks to coach Shanna.

Ana Milosevic, Mississauga Monarchs U14 Girls

Ana has been with MMBA organization for the past two years. She started as a development coach at the age of 16. Every summer Ana spent honing her basketball playing and coaching skills in Europe. In the 2017/18 season, Ana was assistant coach on MMBA U13 girls team which won silver medal at OBA Cup Division 6 and gold at OBL division 4. In the 18/19 season, Ana was named Head Coach of MMBA U14 girls’ team at the age of 17. Ana turned 18 in November of 2018. Ana coached her team to silver at OBA Cup in London, as well as to promotion from Division 4 to Division 3 in OBL.

Angela Pompeo, Ottawa Shooting Stars U15 Girls & U19 Girls

When my team and I started out this year we did not listen, did not try hard, did not stay positive or communicate. As I’m sure you are aware, this does not make for an amazing team. Coach Angie immediately recognized our weakness and took charge. Now our team is like a family, we are so close and give our all every single practice and game. Coach Angie not only guide us on the court through ball but also through our minds and hearts, something that I think helped our team a lot. Coach Angie has made every single one of us players not only a better player but better people. For that I want to show my thanks to one of the strongest, kindest, smartest and overall amazing woman and people out there.

Carissa Poulin, North Bay Spartans U12 Girls

Carissa deserves to be the 2019 coach of the year because she is the best coach I have ever had! She listens to us when we need to be heard and tells us the hard truth that we need to hear, when she tells us constructive criticism she does so in a calm and collective way. She has the ability to wrangle our team when we are not listening and gets our minds on task. She gets us excited and hyped up for the games and practices in the most special ways. She is proud of us when we win or lose and always wants to know that we all are special in our own way, that we all have our own special talents and places on the team. She takes the time to learn about our goals and always is there to help us achieve them, and makes sure that we feel we are working to the best of our ability. She has done multiple team bonding seminars with us to teach the value of being together and I think they really work and we are a better team because of her.

Jackie Zicaro, YNBA Avengers U10 Girls & U12 Girls

Coach Jackie is a true leader in GIRL POWER!!! This year was the first year my daughter played for the YNBA Avengers U10 team. Jackie took 11 girls, with a range of skill levels and created a strong bonded team. Her positivity and ability to build each individual team members strengths with the simple idea that being your best, trying your best and embracing your failures and building off them, makes you a strong athlete. She encouraged a true team effort, with passing and plays that pushed each girl to encourage their team mates to play hard regardless of their capabilities. Jackie made realistic goals for the team to work towards, and at the end of each game she gave positive feedback of all the things they did well during the game. Jackie taught the girls a humbled confidence that remained present no matter the outcome, even in the event of a loss they celebrated the strengths and improvements they had made and continued to push that ideology moving forward. Jackie creates a positive, exciting and empowering approach to sport. She seeks out the ideas of her players and makes those ideas part of the solution, she aids her players with support and knowledge of the game through encouragement and optimism. Jackie Zicaro took my daughter and gave her and her teammates the tools to be their best selves, she helped build confidence and drive for my daughter to want to do better for herself and her coach. Jackie didn’t yell, hold 1000 hours of practice, hammer them with drills when they failed, bench them on the days they struggled…… She played them, pushed them to be better, had fun, encouraged them to take risks, built confidence, taught them sportsmanship and compassion and made sure that they knew they deserved to play, be part of sports and to never give up…… never ever give up…… they lost almost every game and by the end they started to win and were bronze medal winners at the Ontario, Guelph Cup. Jackie is the definition of a real coach and she is everything I hope my daughter grows to be in basketball and in life.