Edwards named the West coach of the year

Matt Gutsch

Scott Edwards, head coach of the University of Alberta Pandas basketball team, has been named the Canada West Coach of the Year.

The full list of conference award winners and all-stars was announced March 5. Joining Edwards in receiving Canada West recognition were guard Jamie Norum, chosen as the Canada West nominee for the Tracy MacLeod award, and fifth-year forward Andria Carlyon, who earned first team all-star status.

For Edwards, it is the second time in his eight-year career that he has been named coach of the year. He guided the Pandas to a 20-2 regular season record in 2013-14, as well as a team-record 19 straight wins.

The native of Duncan, B.C., first won the coach of the year honour in his rookie season, 2006-07, the same year he took the Pandas to the CIS silver medal.

“Scott Edwards has done a tremendous job with the Pandas basketball program,” noted U of A athletic director Ian Reade. “The Pandas set a team record with 19 consecutive wins, which is an outstanding accomplishment in a league with parity at the top, a significant amount of travel, and back-to-back games against the same opponent. All of these factors make a winning streak and a 20-2 season even more incredible.”

Sophomore guard Jaime Norum, meanwhile, was named Canada West nominee for the Tracy MacLeod Award for the 2013-14 season.

Presented annually at the CIS women’s basketball national championship awards banquet, the award is given to a student-athlete who displays incredible determination, perseverance and an unwavering spirit to continue playing the game of basketball.

In her second season of eligibility, but fourth with the team, Norum has been a living definition of the award criteria. In her debut CIS season (2010-11), the talented point guard from High River, Alta., blew out her knee in her first game and had to miss the remainder of the season. After a surgery and a long rehabilitation process, Norum was slated to return to the Pandas in 2012, but while travelling in Africa with Athletes in Action, a group committed to using sport and religion to change lives, Norum wrecked the same ligament in the same knee, forcing her to undergo more surgery and rehabilitation, and to miss the entire 2012-13 season as a result. Finally, on the eve of her second comeback from debilitating knee injuries, Norum had to contend with massive flooding in the summer of 2013 that ruined much of her family’s home in southern Alberta. 

But through it all, Norum’s resolve and dedication never wavered. She finally stepped on the court with her Pandas teammates in the fall of 2013 for her first CIS game in three years. She ended up playing in 18 regular season games for Alberta in 2013-14, as well as two playoff games so far.

She is the just the second member of the Pandas program to be nominated for the award, and the first since 2011.

“Everyone involved with Pandas basketball is thrilled for Jaime” said Pandas head coach Scott Edwards. “Having been there to see the toughest of times for this young athlete, we are inspired every day by her perseverance, work ethic and attitude. The impact she has had on our program cannot be measured. She challenges everyone involved with this program to be a better athlete, student and person.”