Dheensaw takes over Badgers Women’s Basketball

Former Team Canada Shae Dheensaw player replaces Welland Wall of Famer Mike Rao. Pictured: Brock Badgers Coach Shae Dheensaw. Photo Credit: Brock University. 

After Welland native and 2024 Welland Sports Wall of Fame inductee Mike Rao announced his retirement, the Brock Badgers Women’s Basketball team knew they had big shoes to fill.

Enter former Team Canada player and NCAA player/coach Shae Dheensaw, who was officially named the Badgers new bench boss earlier this month.

“Something I said a lot during the interview was, I’m not just a player’s coach, I’m not just a basketball coach, I’m a people’s coach,” said Dheensaw recently on the Niagara Sports Report on Newstalk 610 CKTB. “I am a person-based person.”

Dheensaw lands at Brock University after holding the assistant coach position at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU), where she was instrumental in the TMU Bold’s historic undefeated season and their first national championship title in 2021-22.

She quickly points to her father as a mentor, and for teaching her what sports are all about.

“He really introduced to me what high-level athletics look like, what it means to compete.”

“It’s not difficult to be excited when you look at the Brock women’s basketball program,” Dheensaw told

“The team accomplishments over the generations, the individual player recognitions, the academic offerings and the way the community packs Bob Davis Gymnasium are just a few of the exciting pieces about Brock.”

Before Brock, Dheensaw had coaching stints at the University of Victoria and Washington State University.

“Welcoming Shae as our new women’s varsity basketball head coach is a pivotal moment for us,” Melissa Krist, Executive Director of Brock Sports and Recreation, recently told “Her dedication to enhancing the student-athlete experience and commitment to educational values will be invaluable to our program’s success.”

Dheensaw played for Canada at the U16 and U17 levels in International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Championship events, followed by a stellar National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) career at Washington State University. 

At Washington State, she scored 535 points, grabbed 307 rebounds and recorded 98 blocks over 112 games in the PAC-12 conference.

Speaking of numbers, Dheensaw has an interesting perspective as it pertains to university student-athletes.

“My standard phrase is five for 50,” said Dheensaw. “We get these athletes for five years to set them up for the next 50. It’s my job to ignite that and feed that.”

From an education perspective, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development with a certificate in Early Childhood Education from Washington State University and a Master of Education from the University of Washington.

Asked whether she’s had a chance to reach out to her Badger players, Dheensaw couldn’t have been happier to respond.

“This team is really amazing,” Dheensaw explained. “They have some goals and standards set for themselves during this transition space.”

“For them to unite and be connected, to stay on campus for the summer, and be dedicated to training before a coach was even named was phenomenal. It’s made my transition so clean and just all the more exciting to know it’s a self-motivated group. It’s really exciting.”

Brock Women’s Basketball preseason action begins this September.

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