The Maritime Women’s Basketball Association continues to evolve.
And part of that evolution is continuing to push for more females to be part of the MWBA’s coaching fraternity.
Only Madeline Belding of Saint John’s Port City Fog and Jillian Smith of the Moncton Mystics are female head coaches in the six-team MWBA, but the future is bright for many women including Maia Timmons, an assistant coach with the Halifax Hornets.
Timmons, who is also an assistant coach with the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association’s Mount St. Vincent University Mystics, is part of a national coaching program for the 2023-24 season.
She was selected as one of 13 aspiring female coaches to participate in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association’s (CCAA) Female Apprentice Coach Program (FACP).
FACP, which is funded in part by Sport Canada, is designed to identify and support female graduating student-athletes who demonstrate the desire and skills for coaching by providing them opportunities to share in the coaching experience in the CCAA.
‘We were certainly excited when we found out Maia was going to be involved with this apprentice program,’ said MWBA commissioner Jen McKenzie. ‘The MWBA has a number of goals as we continue to promote women in sport. We want to see more women taking lead roles and follow Madeline in Port City and become leaders.’
The MWBA ensures all teams have a female coach on its bench.
A number of teams have more than one and the progress continues.
Timmons will me mentored by Mark Forward, the head coach of the Hornets and Mount St. Vincent.
She will work closely with Forward, who is in his 15th season with the Mystics. Forward has not hesitated putting a lot of trust in Timmons.
‘Maia brings a combination of fun and expertise to the gym and classroom at all times,’ Forward told Rodney Wilson of the CCAA. ‘She will be a great mentor to our players. She has the enthusiasm, maturity and drive to be a wonderful coach and she will be a coach players will want to play for.’
Timmons, who hails from Hantsport, NS, played four seasons at the USPORTS level.
The guard out of Horton High School, spent four seasons with University of Ottawa Gee Gees in Ontario University Athletics, part of a national bronze medal-winning team in 2018-19. She returned to her home province and played a season with the Dalhousie University Tigers of Atlantic University Sport, finishing her career with 92 games between the two programs.
Coaching was certainly on her mind as a player when she was in Ottawa.
Timmons accepted a head coaching role with the Ontario Summer Development program’s under-12 level in the nation’s capital.
Things accelerated from there.
She joined the MWBA’s Windsor Edge (now Lake City 56ers) in 2022 before joining Forward and the Hornets last season, adding to her schedule by assisting with Basketball Nova Scotia’s under-16 girls’ program.
‘My first experience in a head coaching role helped me gain confidence in my ability to teach, inspire and connect with my players,’ she told the CCAA. ‘These experiences have allowed me to learn from different coaches at different levels and I have seen notable growth in my ability to teach skills and convey concepts.’
This season, Timmons believes her experience will allow her to support individual player development, scouting and game preparation as well as video analysis with the Mystics, the four-time reigning ACAA champions.
“I also believe as a young female coach, I am an asset to support young female athletes navigate through this chapter of their lives,” she said.