On the eve of a new varsity season, the McMaster Marauders have confirmed that women’s basketball head coach Theresa Burns, currently on medical leave, will temporarily hand over the coaching reins to lead assistant AnneMarie Thuss, who will step in as associate head coach to begin the 2015-16 Ontario University Athletics season.
“AnneMarie has served in this role before so she knows the team very well and she understands the vision and values of our athletic programs,” said Glen Grunwald, director of athletics and recreation. “I’m confident that our women’s basketball team is in very capable hands. We are also hoping for the speedy recovery of Coach Burns, and are anxiously awaiting her return to the sideline at the Burridge Gym.”
Entering her 14th year with the McMaster program, coach Thuss served as interim head coach during the 2008-09 season, when Burns was on a personal leave. The team finished with a 14-8 record that season, garnering third-place in the OUA West Division.
“I’m happy to be able to support Theresa and our team by stepping in as associate head coach,” said Thuss. “Theresa has always been committed to leading our student-athletes to success on and off the court and I plan to continue that approach, while putting a highly competitive product on the floor. The systems and philosophical approach to the game has been firmly rooted in the excellent athletes that make up this team, and I look forward to the collaborative effort to achieve success this season”
Coach Thuss was on staff with the Canadian Senior National Team in the summer of 2015, as that team captured Gold at both the Pan Am Games and the FIBA Americas Championship.
“Coach Thuss’ familiarity and knowledge of our players and program make this comfortable for everyone,” said Burns. “AnneMarie is a great coach and will do a wonderful job with the team.”
Returning as assistant coaches this year are Ed Grosel (8th year) and Carrie Zettel (5th year), while new additions to the coaching staff are Andrew Baillie, who moves over from the Marauder men’s team and Kelly Dunham, who previously served on the McMaster staff before moving on to coach at Mohawk College.
The Marauders open the season on Tuesday (Oct. 6) with an exhibition game against their cross-town rivals, the Mohawk Mountaineers. The contest also serves as a fundraiser in support of McMaster Hall of Fame basketball player Vicky Harrison.
Game time is 6 p.m. at Mohawk’s David Braley Athletic & Recreation Centre.