After more than 30 years of service to Winnipeg Wesmen Athletics, Tanya McKay is stepping down from her position as head women's basketball coach.

McKay, a native of Sackville, N.S., has accepted the head coaching position at Dalhousie University in Halifax and will immediately begin her tenure with the Tigers.

A national search will commence shortly to find McKay's replacement for the 2022-23 season.

McKay is taking the Dalhousie job to move closer to home and to her family.

McKay has led the women's basketball program for the past 26 seasons and to five national medals, including a silver at the U Sports national championship last weekend in Kingston, Ont.

"My decision is a personal one: It's time to go home and be there for my parents.

I am grateful for my time in Winnipeg and the University of Winnipeg, which has been my second home for 36 years," McKay said.

"A player, a wife, a mom, and coach, I have grown up a lot since arriving in Winnipeg in 1986, and I'm thankful to former athletic director Aubrey Ferris, who took a chance on me and gave me my dream job in 1996.

"I have coached well over 100 student-athletes and it has been a wonderful journey — five national championship appearances, three silver medals and two bronze.

"I have been blessed with amazing assistant coaches along the way, with the longest-standing being Richard Gooch (14 years) and Tami Pennell (19 years), who have been right there beside me every step. I am forever grateful for their time and effort as volunteer coaches in our program.

"To all the student-athletes who have played for me, I thank you for your commitment and effort to make Wesmen Basketball the success that it is. You've made coaching in Winnipeg a joy and provided me with memories I will never forget.

"Our current student-athletes are tremendous ambassadors for our university and I will truly miss coming to work every day to be a part of your journey. I leave here knowing the program will be in good hands but also knowing how difficult it will be to say goodbye."

She leaves as the winningest and longest-tenured head coach in program history. In 2018, she became the only Wesmen coach to reach 500 career wins in CIAU/CIS/U Sports competition. She leaves Winnipeg with a record of 528-306 in Canadian university games, a win total that ranks fourth all-time in Canadian university history and second among active U Sports head coaches.

McKay came to Winnipeg as a highly-touted high school recruit in 1986 and was named the Great Plains Athletic Conference rookie of the year that season. She would go on to be an all-conference player the following four seasons, the conference player of the year in 1988-89 and earned three all-Canadian honours, including first-team status in 1990-91.

After her playing career, McKay joined the Wesmen coaching staff under head coach Tom Kendall in 1992-93, when the team won a national championship.

She would take over the head coaching position in 1996 and posted just six losing seasons over the next 26 years.

"Tanya is one of the finest basketball coaches in Canada and her loss in the Manitoba basketball community and the University of Winnipeg will be profound," UWinnipeg athletics director Dave Crook said. "She is an outstanding role model and unassuming community volunteer and leader, and she will be sorely missed. I consider her a great friend and colleague, and I wish her success in her next chapter at Dalhousie."

McKay has also served the provincial body numerous times since arriving in Winnipeg. She has been the head coach of a provincial team 10 times with multiple medals won, including gold at the 2014 Canada Basketball U17 national championship. That same year, she was named Basketball Manitoba's Open Category Coach of the Year.

In addition, she has twice served as an assistant coach in national programs: 1999 at the World University Games, and 2000 with the junior national team at the Francophone Games.


Below is a collection of videos involving Tanya including as a recent guest on the Basketball Manitoba Podcast, presenting at the Basketball Manitoba Super Coaches Clinic and permitting cameras into some of her team practices with the Basketball Manitoba All-Access Video Series...

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