When Paige Crozon joined the Lethbridge Pronghorns as an assistant coach last year, she already had an impressive resumé.
But a busy summer has added even more items to a long list of accomplishments, and she’s ready to make an impact at the University of Lethbridge.
The Humboldt, Sask., product will serve as a full-time lead assistant coach alongside head coach Dave Waknuk, with Crozon’s latest coaching experience coming in the Canadian Elite Basketball League.
“I was the assistant coach with the Saskatchewan Rattlers in the CEBL this summer,” said Crozon, who became the first woman to coach professional men’s basketball in the province of Saskatchewan.
“Looking back, I don’t think I was very confident in my position when I started, but just being in that environment every day and having the trust of the athletes has really instilled a lot of confidence in me.”
Once the CEBL season wrapped up, Crozon got off the sidelines and laced up to compete herself as a member of Team Canada.
“I just got back from Romania, playing with the Team Canada 3×3 team,” she said. “We were playing in a tournament called the women’s series, and there are stops all around the world.”
Crozon’s history as an athlete includes four years playing NCAA Division I basketball at the University of Utah, where she cracked 1,000 career points and served as team captain for two seasons. She then played professionally in Germany for the Saarlouis Royals.
Internationally, Crozon has competed for Canada on multiple occasions, including at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, 2017 FISU Games, U-17 Cadet World Championships and the U-19 Junior World Championships.
Waknuk says not only does Crozon bring a wealth of technical knowledge to the court, but she also serves as an amazing role model for athletes in the program.
“I think one of Paige’s best attributes is her relatability to the athletes,” he said.
“I think the fact that she played at a high level of post-secondary basketball is always a great thing for a reference point for the athletes and that she’s had success at all levels.”
For Crozon, she says her love for the game keeps her motivated as she works hard juggling multiple roles. One of those roles is as the central co-ordinator for the new Living Skies Indigenous Basketball League, set to tip off across Saskatchewan this fall.
While Crozon wears many hats, she says her favourite role is being a mom to her three-year-old daughter, who is already the Pronghorns’ number one fan.
“It’s been so great for her to come into the gym every day and watch all the girls work out and train,” she said.
“They’re just such high-quality people that they’re such good role models for her to be around, so she has essentially grown up in a gym — one watching me play, and now watching me coach.”
The Pronghorns women’s basketball team will open training camp on Aug. 30, with some exhibition play before kicking of Canada West action against the University of Calgary Dinos on Oct. 29.