Tamara Tatham is U of T assistant coach
July 14, 2017
Recently retired national women’s basketball player Tamara Tatham is following in her older brother’s footsteps.
The two-time Olympian and Pan American Games gold medallist has joined the University of Toronto women’s program as an assistant coach.
She signed a three-year contract in June and her first day on the job was last Monday.
A graduate of Cleveland State University, Patrick Tatham was a national junior team member for two seasons and Mr. Basketball Canada in 2002 before turning to coaching. He was the head coach at Stoneridge Preparatory School in California for a season prior to joining Ryerson University where he spent six years on the coaching staff.
After a season as an assistant coach for the National Basketball Association Development League’s Maine Red Claws, the eldest of three siblings was named McMaster University men’s bench boss last May.
Tatham said her brother, who was the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) 2016 Coach of the Year after leading the Ryerson Rams to its first OUA title (it was the first for the university in any sport) in his single season as the interim head coach while filling in for Roy Rana who was on sabbatical, was one of the first people she consulted when she made the decision to transition from player to coach.
“He has been very successful in that role and his advice, of course, matters,” she said. “He is happy with the path I am taking and he provided me with some useful tips.”
Tatham retired last May after 11 years with the national women’s program.
“After I made the decision to retire, I was trying to figure out what to do next and that’s when I became aware of an opening at the U of T,” she said. “I got an interview and the next thing you know I was offered the position. For me, this is a good way to stay connected to the sport and also inspire young athletes. I love basketball and being able to teach young women and help guide them on a path to success on and off the court will be an exhilarating and gratifying experience.”
The U of T women, coached by Michele Belanger for the last 39 years, begins the new season on October 6.
Beth Ali, the executive director of athletics and physical activity, said Tatham is a proven winner and the Varsity Blues is proud that she is part of their coaching staff.
“Her experience nationally and internationally with team Canada is exemplary,” said Ali. “This experience combined with her knowledge of the game and her leadership ability makes her the perfect fit for our program. From all accounts, her transition from player to coach will be a smooth one.”
Averaging 23 points and 10 rebounds as a senior at Chinguacousy Secondary School in Brampton, Tatham graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 2007 with a sports management degree. The team captain in the last two years, she was the 11th player in program history to surpass 1,000 career points.
She represented Canada in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, two Pan American Games, six International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Americas championships and two FIBA world tournaments.
The small forward played in 157 senior international matches for Canada and also represented club teams in Finland, Germany, Slovakia, Australia and Russia.
“Playing for Canada was definitely one of my best experiences,” said Tatham who played a team-high 30 minutes and 27 seconds in Canada’s 81-73 historic win over the United States in the 2015 Pan American Games final at Mattamy Centre. “I got the opportunity to travel the world, make lifelong friends and compete alongside some of the country’s best players. To be among the top 12 Canadian women players for the last decade was a blessing. I felt so honoured to be part of this elite group of women.”
At age 31, playing the sport year-round for over a decade was beginning to take its toll mentally and physically on Tatham who enjoys blogging and co-founded with her younger sister Alisha (she represented Canada before retiring four years ago) a non-profit – Love Live Hoop -- which is aimed at empowering young people
“It’s not easy playing almost 12 months every year,” she said. “My body has gone through a lot and I just think now was the right time to find something else to do.”
The Varsity Blues finished with a 7-12 record in the 2016-17 OUA competition.