MIKE AND ALLISON McNeill have a wealth of basketball knowledge after coaching at the highest levels of the game.

Allison McNeill loves teaching basketball players

Former Olympic coach says it is important to develop young talent

Allison McNeill, head coach of the Canadian women’s basketball team that finished in the top eight at the 2012 London Olympics, and her husband Mike shared some of their expertise with a gym full of eager young players at a Friday camp at Mark R. Isfeld Secondary.

The night before, she delivered a keynote address at the school’s athletic banquet.

“I was trained as a teacher,” said McNeill, who spent four years in the classroom before embarking on a coaching career, first at universities then at the national level. “I’ve kind of done all levels. I’ve done a lot of basketball camps, and I’ve always coached the young kids. National team was full-time work, part-time pay, like a lot of jobs.”

Before her stint leading the national team, the Surrey resident had coached at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby and at the University of Oregon, where she was a starting guard in her playing days.

At the Olympics, she and Mike led the Canadian women to the quarter-finals where they lost to the eventual gold medal-winning Americans. It was the highest finish in 35 years for a Canadian women’s Olympic basketball team.

“A lot of people weren’t even expecting us to get to the Olympics,” McNeill said. “We actually qualified on Canada Day. And then we got the last possible berth to the Olympics.”

They did so by defeating Japan, which had twice beaten the Canadians the previous summer.

In December, after 11 years at the helm, McNeill retired from her national team head coaching duties. She and Mike now work at the grassroots level with aspiring young basketball players.

Mike, a former men’s team coach at SFU, was an assistant coach of the women’s team in London. His full-time job is director of coaching and development for Basketball B.C.

The couple conduct clinics throughout B.C. and parts of Western Canada. Come summer, Allison will speak at a clinic in Lithuania.

“Around the national team I’ve always been doing Steve Nash Youth Basketball, and coaching coaches and NCP (National Coaching Certification),” she said. “I’m blessed to be able to coach at all levels. I still love the developmental level — it might be my favourite.”

Here’s what Canada Basketball has to say: Allison McNeill is a Canadian icon, a treasure and a valued resource to the sport of basketball and the entire coaching community. She has dedicated over 30 years of her life to coaching female athletes in basketball and is recognized as an outstanding coach, teacher and friend by athletes and colleagues alike.

McNeill earned the 2011 Geoff Gowan Award, a lifetime achievement recognition for coaching development.

“If we don’t get our coaching better, then our sports aren’t going to get better,” she said. “We have athletes in this country. We’re not hurting for athletes. Look at hockey. If we don’t have good coaching at the youth levels especially, then it’s pretty hard to get players to the international level.

“But I’m not only interested in the international level, I’m just interested in the kids having a good youth sport experience.”

 

Just Posted

No injuries in early morning Comox car fire

Comox firefighters responded to an early morning vehicle fire Monday near the… Continue reading

27th Annual Courtenay and District Fish & Game Outdoor Show coming in June

June is just around the corner and so is the 27th Annual… Continue reading

New version of outdoor art show set to take place in Comox in August

Despite the announcement earlier this year of the cancellation of the Originals… Continue reading

Tales from MusicFest: ‘House bands’ from the golden age of rock and R&B

Robert Moyes Special to The Record Doug Cox, artistic director and executive… Continue reading

Comox Valley artist named Living Legend for wildfowl carvings

An artist from the Comox Valley has been named a Living Legend… Continue reading

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

The father and two youngesters fell down a steep and treachorous cliff while hiking on Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

RCMP arrest violent offender on Vancouver Island

Police struggle with suspect and take him down with a taser

Most Read