For the first time ever, a University of the Fraser Valley Cascades head coach has earned a Canada West coach of the year nod.
Women’s basketball head coach Al Tuchscherer, who helped lead his team to a 15-3 record and a top-ten ranking nationally, was named coach of the year for CW women’s basketball.
The Cascades scored a division title for the first time since 2014 and took home the Pacific Division banner. The club also reached the U Sports national top ten, ranking as high as seventh. The women have not achieved a top-ten ranking since 2014.
UFV built a reputation as a tough defensive squad, leading the conference in opponents’ field goal percentage (29.9 per cent) and ranking second in points allowed per game (55.0).
Tuchscherer recently completed his 20th season as the bench boss for the women’s program and is the only head coach in UFV history at the CW level.
“More than anything, this award is a reflection of a great collaborative effort from everyone on our staff over the past three years,” stated Tuchscherer, who was assisted in 2021-22 by Dan Nayebzadeh, Kayli Sartori and Aieisha Luyken. “I’m proud of everyone for their dedication to serve the team through numerous challenges, ensuring our team had a positive experience and ultimately a successful on-court season. It’s rewarding that CW coaches have recognized our program.”
🏔🏀 | Al Tuchscherer (@Go_Cascades) is the @CanadaWest WBB Coach of the Year! 🎉🎉🎉— UFV Cascades (@UFVCascades) March 16, 2022
He becomes the first Cascade (across all sports) to win a CW Coach of the Year award, and we couldn't be more thrilled!
🗞 https://t.co/a5NC8c1UUs#WeClimbWeConquer pic.twitter.com/X5Fb0a6pjg
He noted that the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic added an extra layer to his job, but that he’s pleased with the way his team and the school navigated the tough times.
“This award is well-earned, and it’s a testament to Al’s ability to keep his team motivated and engaged through an extremely challenging two-year period while navigating a pandemic,” stated Steve Tuckwood, UFV director of athletics and campus recreation. “This is a difficult award to win, as it’s measured against 16 other programs, and we’re pleased that Al’s excellent work has been recognized by his peers.”
He was also praised for his work with the team off the court. Tuchscherer has helped connect the team with groups like Big Brothers Big Sisters, Operation Red Nose, and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation during his years as head coach to encourage students to have a community-oriented mindset.
Tuchscherer will now be the CW representative for the U Sports awards, which occur later this year.
🏆 Your WBB Major Award Winners ✨— Canada West (@CanadaWest) March 16, 2022
🏀 Player of the Year: K. Filewich
🏀 Defensive Player of the Year: S. Masikewich
🏀 Rookie of the Year: J. Belmore
🏀 Overcoming Adversity: K. Giles
🏀 Community Service: L. Epoch
🏀 Coach of the Year: A. Tuchscherer