Coaching Manitoba and Sport Manitoba on Sunday announced the four finalists for Coach of the Year tied to its annual Coaching Manitoba Excellence Awards presented by Manitoba Lotteries.  The program's aim is to recognize and celebrate the outstanding achievements and significant contributions coaches have made to their athletes and their sport through coaching.  Two of the four recipients were basketball coaches including Don Thomson of Brandon, winner of the School based 'Peter Dick Award' and is currently coaching at Neelin High School plus is Basketball Manitoba's 17U Female Provincial Team Coach.  Long time wheelchair basketball coach form Winnipeg, Bill Johnson was recognized with the high performance 'Peter Williamson Memorial Award'.  Congratulations to Don, Bill and the other deserving recipients!  



The selection of recipients is based on their unique contribution to sport through the continued development of their athletes. The award does not reflect the accomplishments and contributions of a coach in any one-year; rather, the awards are designed to acknowledge the contributions a coach has made to his/her sport and athletes over a number of years.

The Excellence Awards have four categories. The category refers to the type of athlete the coach is primarily responsible for, with the exception of the School System category, which refers to a coach who is a paid employee of a school.

When appropriate the Excellence Awards will also recognize two additional categories: Years of Service and International Coach.






  • Active Start/Fundamentals (Previously called Grassroots) - Vince Leah Award

  • Individuals who coach grassroots athletes of any age. The coaching environment at this level is primarily non-competitive, with an emphasis on participation and having fun.

  • Learn to Train-Train to Train (Previously called Developmental) - Dr. Jack Hunt Award 

  • Coaches who are responsible for athletes developing competitive skills and preparing for competition   (i.e. regional, provincial, or Canada Games).

  • Train to Compete-Train to Win (Previously called High Performance) - Peter Williamson Award 

  • Coaches who primarily work with athletes that compete at the national or international level.

  • School System Athletes - Peter Dick Award

  • These coaches are paid employees of a school (i.e. teacher, guidance counselor, principal) who coach as an extra-curricular activity. This award is open to those individuals who coach at all grade levels from elementary through middle years and high school.


  • Years of Service Recognition

  • Coaches who have dedicated a minimum of 25 years to coaching at any level. To be recognized for this award, the coach must be nominated through their Provincial Sport Governing Body.

  • International Coach Recognition

  • Manitoba coaches who have coached at International Events in the previous year. The coach must have coached an International Event, in Canada or overseas. 

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