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Wilson retires after nearly 40 years as women’s basketball head coach

[Dave Wilson]
Over his career as head coach of the Queen's Gaels women's basketball team Dave Wilson recorded 385 victories and a 100 per cent graduation rate for his players.

After nearly 40 years of coaching women’s basketball at Queen’s University, head coach Dave Wilson announced his retirement on Wednesday.

“This was a very difficult decision and one that my family and I struggled with,” Wilson says. “This is a personal decision and the timing of it now provides an opportunity for myself and my family to do the things we've always planned and looked forward to doing in retirement.”

A strategically skilled leader, Wilson is a respected and celebrated coach who led his players to innumerable successes both on and off the court. He began his coaching career with the Gaels in 1981-82 and has amassed 385 career wins. He led Queen’s to an OUA title in 2000-01 and is a four-time OUA coach of the year. In 2017 he was honoured as the U SPORTS coach of the year after leading the Gaels on home court in the OUA Final Four and to another national championship appearance. Most impressively, his athletes have a 100 per cent graduation rate in his career as a coach.

“Dave Wilson's influence has touched countless people over his nearly 40 years at Queen’s, and the hundreds of student-athletes who have worn the tricolour have benefited from his leadership, passion and commitment,” says Leslie Dal Cin, Executive Director, Queen’s Athletics and Recreation. “He is a tremendous colleague and friend whom we are all better off for having worked with. He leaves a legacy of producing elite women's basketball players and even better people. He has been an outstanding ambassador, advocate and leader for women’s basketball in our country helping to shape the game while serving on countless committees and working at the highest levels of basketball in Canada. We all wish him and his family nothing but happiness in his retirement.”

Wilson served as a member of numerous U SPORTS and OUA committees. Internationally, he has been a key contributor with Canada Basketball working in various coaching roles with both the senior and junior women’s programs, earning a silver and two bronze medals with the junior program at the All-Americas Championship. In 2007 he also served as head coach of the Canadian World University Games team in Thailand finishing seventh.

“I would like to thank Queen’s University for the privilege to work with and for a remarkable community of people,” Wilson says. “I want to thank my staff for their efforts to continually be the best and compete on the biggest stages in basketball while leaving players with life skills they need to succeed after university. I know that the program is in good hands moving forward. Most importantly, it has been an honour to coach the young women that have represented the university so well, not only with their time on the court but by their actions across Canada as players and then as alumni. My family and I look forward to the next stage of our life in retirement.”

James Bambury takes over as the interim head coach for the 2019-20 season and has an extensive coaching background previously serving as an OUA head coach with the RMC Paladins for two seasons before joining Queen’s in 2012 where he has since served as a full-time assistant. A former Gael himself with the men’s program, Bambury also has international experience as head coach of the women’s team at Leeds Metropolitan University from 2008-10, as an assistant coach with England at the 2010 University Games and associate coach of the England U18 national women’s team.

A search for the full-time head coach will commence in March 2020.

Queen’s Athletics and Recreation will announce plans to celebrate Wilson’s career and accomplishments later this fall.