Accolades are pouring in after Sarnia’s Janine Day was named the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year.
In only her second season with the Lions at Lambton College, Janine’s exceptional commitment and understanding of the game has earned her the provincial coaching title.
Her team won silver at this year’s OCAA Championships earlier this month, taking second place in the West Division and posting a 13-3 record. It was the first time the Lions brought home a top level medal in women’s basketball.
With Janine at the helm, this was also the first season the Lions were ranked nationally, checking in at number nine. At one point in November, they ranked eighth in Canada and were nationally ranked in 12 of the 15 weeks during the regular season.
“To do all that in her second season is pretty incredible,” says Kurtis Gray who oversees Lambton College’s athletics department as assistant VP of Student Success.
“Janine is very accomplished and has been a part of very successful and winning teams throughout her career.
“She knows how to surround herself with an extremely strong coaching staff and puts a great deal of time, effort and energy into her team,” said Kurtis.
The Lions’ assistant coaches this year include Pauline Turner, Katie Barnes and Jeff Byrne.
Janine was also quick to acknowledge her assistant coaches. “It’s exciting to be chosen Coach of the Year, especially since it’s other coaches in the league who choose. That made me feel good.
“But for me, it’s a team and a collaboration of work. It’s definitely a group effort.”
Janine, 43, began playing basketball and coaching at Northern Secondary and earned her coaching certification while attending York University where she studied kinesiology.
She played varsity basketball and lacrosse, then resumed coaching at the high school level when she began her teaching career at Wallaceburg District Secondary School (WDSS).
She’s been at WDSS for 19 years, teaching Phys. Ed and student success, as well as coaching basketball and soccer. Under her leadership, the WDSS senior girls’ basketball team won the OFSAA gold medal in 2018.
Janine has also coached Team Ontario, working with the best players in the province.
In 2021 she became the Lions’ head coach.
“I like the strategy piece at the post-secondary level,” she said. “Athletes at the college level have the time to work out, shoot on their own time and watch game tape.”
About half of basketball is physical but the other half is mental, said Janine. “We do a lot of off-court mental preparation, talk about stress, adversity and the mental piece of the game.”
“A Janine Day team plays a really tough defensive game,” said James Grant, manager of Lambton College’s athletics department and coach of the men’s basketball team.
“Janine understands the game and, as a coach myself, I appreciate watching how she manages the game and how her team succeeds.”
James knew Janine when she played basketball in high school and said she has always played an outstanding defensive game.
This year, the Lambton Lions Women’s Basketball team was named Defensive Team of the Year.
“Janine’s commitment to excellence both on and off the court has set a high standard for our women’s basketball program,” Kurtis added. “This award is a reflection of her tireless efforts year-round.”
As the Ontario College’s Athletic Association Coach of the Year, Janine is the league’s nomination for the Canadian Athletic Association Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year, which will be presented at the CCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship Awards banquet in Hamilton on March 14.
Who do you consider an exceptional person in Sarnia-Lambton? Nominate someone you know and explain why you think they should be The Journal’s Exceptional Person of the Week. Email [email protected].