Meet the female coaches heading up the Women’s basketball at Rio 2016…

The women’s basketball tournament at the Rio Olympic games runs from the 6th August – 20th August where the Gold medal match will be held at the Carioca Arena.
There is no finer showcase of female coaches heading their national teams than in women’s basketball and whilst not all teams have female Head Coaches, there are a number of assistant coaches to throw in the mix as well.
Out of the 17 countries competing, 3 countries have female Head Coaches with another 7 female assistant coaches thrown in the mix.  Only Team Canada have a full line up of female coaches, 1 female Head Coach and 2 Female Assistant Coaches.


Head Coach – Lisa Thomaidis

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Four-time Canada West Coach of the Year and two-time CIS Coach of the Year Lisa Thomaidis is in her 16th year as head coach of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.

During her tenure at the U of S, the Huskies have won three Canada West titles (2005-06, 2010-11 and 2013-14), have been consistently ranked in the CIS Top 10 for the last eight years and have qualified for the CIS Championship six of the last seven seasons.
In 2013, Thomaidis was appointed head coach of the Canadian Women’s National Team. At the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship for Women she led the squad to a silver medal, the team’s best finish since 1995. By making the tournament final, Canada qualified for a berth in the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women.

In the summer of 2012, Thomaidis was an Assistant Coach with the Women’s National Team at the London Olympics. There, the team made a dramatic run to the Quarter-Finals, before falling to the USA, the eventual gold medallists.




Assistant Coach Bev Smith
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Beverly “Bev” Smith (born April 4, 1960) is the assistant coach for the Canadian Women’s National Team. Helped lead the team to back-to-back gold medals in 2015 at the Pan American Games in Toronto and the FIBA Americas in Edmonton, AB, qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Former head women’s basketball coach at the University of Oregon. She held that position from 2001 to 2009. She replaced controversial coach Jody Runge, and posted an 83-69 record. Her 2004 team made the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament, after finishing 2nd in the Pacific-10 Conference. In that season, her 2nd 20-win season, Oregon defeated Texas Christian University to advance to the 2nd round. The 2002 team, won the Women’s National Invitation Tournament Championship. She played college basketball herself at Oregon, where she became an all-American in 1981 and 1982.

She is a member of the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame, after leading Canada to a medal in the 1999 Pan American Games. While playing at Oregon, the team had a record of 93-19. She holds school records for points in a game (38), points in a season (632), points in a career (2,063), rebounds in a game (26), rebounds in a season (376), rebounds in a career (2,063), and assists in a career (443).

In 2004, Smith was elected to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame,

Assistant Coach Shawnee Harle
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Shawnee holds a Master’s Degree in Coaching Studies and is the only basketball coach in Canada, male or female, with NCCP Level 5. She is currently the lead Assistant Coach for the Canadian Women’s Olympic Basketball Team and after a 5th place finish at the 2014 World Championships and a Gold Medal finish at the 2015 Pan Am Games and FIBA Americas, the team will represent Canada at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

With a wealth of international coaching experience, Shawnee rejoined the National Team staff in 2011 after serving as an Assistant Coach at the 1994 World Championships in Australia, the 1994 Goodwill Games in Russia and the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. She also served as an international scout for Canada Basketball, traveling to Peru and the Dominican Republic to scout South American teams for the World Qualification Tournament. In 2011 she was an Assistant Coach with the Canadian World University Games Team that competed at the FISU Games in China and in 2012 she was named the Assistant Coach for the National Development Team that played and trained in Montenegro and Belgium.


Assistant Coach – Lori Chizik

Following a playing career in which she represented her native Canada and her university, as well as playing three seasons in the WNBL, Lori made her name in Australia as a coach.

She led the Nunawading Spectres to the Triple Crown in 1989 (Australian Club Championship, State Championship, W.N.B.L. Championship) before heading home in 1992 to coach in Canada.

In 1996 she was back to coach the Bulleen Melbourne Boomers and was named WNBL Coach of the Year that year. She was an Assistant Coach/Selector with the Australian National Team, culminating in their silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. That year she left the Boomers to become an Assistant Coach with the Victorian Titans NBL team – the first female to coach in the league. Since 2002 she has been Head Coach of the Sandringham Sabres women’s team in the ABA, and has been Head Coach of basketball at Wesley College since 1999.


Assistant Coach – Wei Zheng


Head Coach – Valerie Garnier
Valerie Garnier
Valérie Garnier, born in Cholet , is a coach and a former player French of basketball . She succeeds Pierre Vincent at the head of the France team women in August 2013.

Valérie Garnier learned to play basketball at Jallais in Cholet in Maine-et-Loire where she accompanied her father coach / player in the village club. The player evolves at the time in national 4. Former international, she won three times the title of champion of France with the BAC Mirande . Alain Jardel discovers when he coached the junior selection and Valérie Garnier brand 45 points against his with the Pays-de-Loire. He convinces her to join the BAC Mirande, where it becomes as leader over from Jardel on the ground. It is very close to her after the liquidation of the club, help to pass his coaching diploma and hired him as an assistant in the national teams. In December 2010, they oppose for the first time as coach of Tarbes and Toulouse  .

Although still under contract with Toulouse, relegated to LF2, she approached and engaged by Bourges to replace Pierre Vincent  .  His first season with his new club ended with a championship of France, the eleventh in the club’s history  .  The succession of Pierre Vincent was discussed after the defeat against Mondeville the Prado, the fourth loss in tango League in ten days: “I knew Valerie was not a whim. She came out of a season where she won two matches with Toulouse. She took after Pierre Vincent. But I always assumed my decision. I knew she could match what the club needed  .  “

In 2013, she won her second championship title as coach of Bourges. That same year, she was named Chevalier of the National Order of Merit  .

During the summer of 2012, she found the France squad by becoming the assistant to Pierre Vincent, selection aimed one of five qualifying places for the Olympic Games of London awarded during the pre-Olympic tournament played in Istanbul   .  The goal is more than achieved since France wins the silver medal in London  .

In the absence of Pierre Vincent retained by the play-offs with ASVEL, Valérie Garnier directs the team in some friendlies and training sessions  .  She succeeded him as head of the French selection, August 27, 2013  and reached the quarterfinals at the 2014 World Cup .

The France reached the final of the Euro 2015 face of Serbia (68-76  ).  She says, “Yes, it’s a real disappointment but on tonight’s game, they are stronger than us.  We had trouble holding the one-against-one, it was the danger. It has struggled to impose our force inside but especially in defense we sin. Tonight, they are stronger than us but the goal remains the same, is to go to Rio . (…) There is the mind but there are also technical things. At one point, there are individual responsibilities which we find ourselves in front of a player and it takes hold  .  


Head Coach – Marina Maljkovic
As a daughter of a famous Serbian coach, four-times Euroleague winner Božidar Maljković, Marina Maljković has been given an opportunity to start coaching career at the age of 16, when she became an assistant coach in Abeilles de Rueil, a French club she was playing for at the time.

Maljković was an assistant coach of the Serbia and Montenegro national Under-18 team, which has achieved fourth place at the 2004 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship for Women, as well as Serbia and Montenegro national Under-19 team at the 2005 FIBA Under-19 World Championship for Women, which has won the silver medal after finals loss to the team USA.

In August 2011, Maljković has been appointed head coach of the Serbia women’s national basketball team. At the EuroBasket Women 2013, Serbia national team managed to pass into the semifinals, which was the greatest national team success since the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991. Aged 32, Maljković was the youngest, and the only female head coach at the championship.

She led the team once again at the EuroBasket 2015 in Budapest where they won the gold medal, and qualified for the 2016 Olympics, first in the history for the Serbian team. In the autumn of 2015, she extended her contract with the Basketball Federation of Serbia to be the team’s selector over next four years; she also requested that one third of her salary be forwarded to all 12 clubs of the First Women’s Basketball League of Serbia.


Assistant Coach – Isable Sanchez
Isabelle is a Spanish basketball player who competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics and is now the assistant coach for the Spanish Women’s Team


Assistant Coach –  Cheryl Reeve

Cheryl Reeve

Cheryl Reeve, five-year head coach of the Minnesota Lynx, was named on May 12, 2014, as an assistant coach to the 2014 USA Basketball Women’s World Championship Team. After assisting USA head coach Geno Auriemma to the gold medal and a 6-0 record at the 2014 FIBA World Championship, USA Basketball announced on Feb. 9, 2014, that Reeve would return as an assistant for the USA National Team through the 2016 Olympic Games.

Reeve was selected for her first USA Basketball coaching assignment as a court coach at the 2013 USA National Team mini-camp. However, after advancing the Lynx to its third-straight WNBA Finals appearance, Reeve was unable to participate due the timing of the Finals.

At the helm of the Lynx for five seasons (2010 to present), Reeve has compiled a 118-52 (.694 winning percentage) overall record, including an 105-31 (.772 winning percentage) mark over the past four seasons, and captured WNBA championships in 2011 and 2013.



Assistant Coach – Dawn Staley

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After pulling double duty in 2014 as an assistant coach for the USA World Championship Team and head coach for the USA U18 National Team, both of which won gold with unblemished records, University of South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley will return to USA Basketball in 2015 as head coach of the USA U19 World Championship Team and will assist Geno Auriemma and the USA Basketball Women’s National Team through the 2016 Olympic Games.

No stranger to USA Basketball, Staley as an athlete won a total of 10 gold medals, including three Olympic and two FIBA World Championship gold medals, one bronze medal and seven international invitational titles from 1989-2004.

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