Paige Goertzen Named to CCAA Apprentice Coach Program

Paige Goertzen Named to CCAA Apprentice Coach Program

On November 4, 2020, the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) announced the 2020-21 participants for the annual Female Apprentice Coach Program (FACP). Among the successful participants is Ambrose student Paige Goertzen. Paige is currently studying in her first year of the Education Program and graduated from Ambrose with a Bachelor of Science, Biology in April 2020. This year, Paige is working as an apprentice under Coach Neil Nystrom. 

Congratulations Paige on this excellent achievement. 

Below is the write-up about Paige on the CCAA website.


Former Lions team captain Paige Goertzen has returned to Ambrose University as an apprentice in the CCAA’s FACP. She suited up at Ambrose for two years – and also sat out a couple of seasons due to knee injuries – while obtaining her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.

Goertzen is now taking a post-graduate degree in Education as she transitions into coaching.

“Paige comes from a basketball family that eats, sleeps, and breathes basketball, and she is the type of up-and-coming coach that I believe the FACP program is earmarked for,” said Colin Kubinec, Director of Athletics and Campus Recreation at Ambrose University. “Paige is highly responsible, articulate, mature, and has a strong voice – many prospective key characteristics of an emerging coach.”

Goertzen will be mentored by Neil Nystrom, head coach of the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams at Ambrose, a relatively new but proud member of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) and CCAA.

It was only a matter of time for Goertzen to get involved in coaching. When she was a freshman in high school, her grandfather gave her the book, They Call Me Coach by John Wooden. She’s read it numerous times and always felt a desire to work with youth and aid them in the process of developing into young leaders and successful adults.

“It resonated with me not only as a player at the time preparing to one day go on and play basketball in University but also as an individual it challenged me to be better, to do more,” said Goertzen. “I knew that when the day came that I could no longer play basketball, I wanted to work with the next generation, instilling a love for the game that had once been instilled in myself.”

Coming up through the player ranks, Goertzen had several coaches take the time outside of practice to work with her and instill skills that would benefit her on the court and also in life. Those experiences are not lost on Goertzen as she embarks on this new journey.

“It’s through people like them that I learned talent only gets you so far, but hard work and dedication win in the long run,” she said. “It was through these coaches that I’ve learned many life skills and become who I am because they saw potential in me and took the time to invest in my character.”

As an apprentice coach for the Lions, Goertzen is responsible for leading warmups and working alongside new and returning players to aid them in fine-tuning their craft.

The Lions are currently practicing and scrimmaging. Goertzen is keen on learning and continues to take on more and more responsibility, according to Nystrom.

The 2020-21 season is of course like none other in CCAA history and even though CCAA Championships have been cancelled, coach education and training – which is key to the CCAA’s FACP – is being further supplemented via the FACP Leadership Development Program. This Leadership Program is developed by former CCAA student-athlete and current CCAA Head Coach and Doctoral student Danielle Cyr, who will be facilitating the mentorship process. 

As a retired power forward/post player, Goertzen brings plenty of and knowledge in footwork and position-specific skills and drills.

Nystrom, who has twice been named the ACAC South Coach of the Year, has built positive and strong relationships with his student-athletes and coaching staff at Ambrose and is delighted to have the opportunity to work with and mentor Goertzen.

He believes Goertzen is a top-notch leader amongst her peers.

“Paige is very respected by her teammates and I am so excited to watch her move into a formal coaching role,” said Nystrom. “She has great team insights, is a keen learner, and I already have such confidence and enjoyment in working with her.”