UTM has one of the best female basketball coaching staffs in Canada, with all three coaches having unique playing experiences in the NCAA, OUA, and OCAA. Alongside head coach Salee Johnson-Edwards will be a fine cast of assistant coaches when the inaugural 2017-2018 season of women’s varsity basketball hits the OCAA and the RAWC.

Before taking the assistant coaching position, assistant coach Hali Burns was a head coach in the Ontario Basketball Association with the Brampton Warriors from 2010 to 2013 and the 2015-2016 season, where she earned Rookie of the Year honours for Ontario Basketball in 2010. She finished second in Ontario with the Brampton Warriors in the 2012-2013 season.

In addition to her coaching, Burns has an extensive playing background. In 2004-2005, Hali obtained a scholarship to NCAA Division 2 school Ashland University, where her team finished first in the GLIAC South.

Burns was a 2009 graduate of Sheridan College, where she earned her diploma in Applied Health and Community Studies. While at Sheridan, she was a member of the women’s varsity basketball team that captured three Ontario Championships in the OCAA, as well as a National Silver Medal in the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association.

Coach Burns is excited to be part of this new journey. Having been a player on a team that was nearly entering the OCAA, she is well aware of the type of players that UTM should be recruiting to quickly build the UTM Eagles program into a perennial contender.

“Coach Shannon was a two-sport varsity athlete for York University, competing in track and basketball.  She brings a unique skill set to the team, and is a real fitness specialist.  Fitness is her passion, and this will keep our players in the best of shape,” says UTM program director, Jack Krist.

Additionally, coach Shannon Bartley begins her first year as an assistant coach for the UTM women’s varsity basketball team for the 2017-2018 season. Coach Bartley is no stranger to the Eagles coaching staff, as she has served as an assistant coach under coach Johnson-Edwards since the 2015-2016 season in the University of Toronto Development League.

Bartley is a full-time elementary school teacher, and has been working in the Toronto District School Board for the past 11 years. She has garnered numerous conference and city championships throughout her illustrious coaching career in various sports, including basketball, football, ultimate frisbee, and track and field, in both boys’ and girls’ competitions.

Bartley comes to UTM as a former elite-level athlete competing in the CIS for York University. During her playing career, Bartley was an impressive two-sport varsity athlete. When she wasn’t busy as a shooting guard for the varsity women’s basketball team, Bartley was a pentathlon competitor for the York varsity track and field team.

Bartley adds to her long list of physical fitness expertise holding several certifications, including the CPT/CFC—Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Consultant, NCCP Weightlifting Coach Certification, and the Bootcamp University/Posture and Performance Certification.

Krist believes that with Bartley’s fitness certification background, the women can go into their first season as one of the most physically-fit teams in the league.

A 2005 graduate of York University with a B.A. honours specialist in Kinesiology, Bartley is the co-founder and co-owner of She Roars Fitness. Coach Bartley will look to bring her passion for fitness and basketball to this young program, preparing the UTM athletes for a long and often physically-demanding season of OCAA varsity basketball.

“Players are going to love playing for these coaches. All three truly care for their athletes on and off the court, and embrace the sense of family when it comes to their coaching styles,” says Krist. “This supportive, caring atmosphere led by three wonderful female role models should make UTM an easy choice for basketball athletes looking to get a U of T education.”