RRC Rebels men’s basketball coach Scott Kirkpatrick and CMU Blazers women’s basketball coach Joe Di Curzio have each been recognized with the Basketball Manitoba Open Category Coach of the Year Award.
The Open Category award goes to the men’s and women’s basketball coach who excels at the post-secondary, provincial team or national team level.
Kirkpatrick led the Rebels to their third straight MCAC men’s basketball title and the team’s first NIAC championship. They accomplished both feats without suffering a single loss all season.
The Rebels roster was deep this year with a number of veteran players returning to the team. Kirkpatrick said without the Rebels’ players hard work, the success wouldn’t have been possible.
“It is a total team effort for us to be successful in any given year, and I am proud to accept the award because I view it as a group excellence award at the end of the day,” said Kirkpatrick.
As much as the players are a big part of the award, Kirkpatrick said the staff he is surrounded by are just as important.
“I am very honored to receive the reward because I feel it is a direct reflection on… the excellence of our entire coaching staff from Matt Dyck to Donnie Hayes to Terry Bobychuk, our support staff which includes: Arsalan Zaheer and Evelyn Kampen, and our Leadership from Shane Ray in the athletics department.”
Di Curzio had a similar run with the Blazers this season. The team finished in first place in the MCAC with a 12-2 record and won their third straight MCAC title and first NIAC championship in program history.
Like Kirkpatrick, Di Curzio insists this isn’t an individual award, but it’s a reflection of the players and the entire Blazers women’s basketball staff.
“This is a terrific reward to our whole coaching staff and the players who put is in so much time, effort and dedication to make our team better,” said Di Curzio. “We are extremely honored to be receiving such a prestigious award. Our whole team was really proud of our great finish this year despite the many injuries and tough situations we were in and this award is a further recognition of their amazing accomplishments.”
Both the Rebels and Blazers will shoot for a fourth straight MCAC title when the 2020-21 season tips off in the fall.