The most prestigious trophy in Ontario university women’s basketball is being renamed to honour a Brock University and Canadian basketball legend.
The Ontario University Athletics championship trophy will be renamed the Critelli Cup in recognition of Brock’s Assistant Athletic Director Chris Critelli during a ceremony at the St. Catharines University on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016.
The official announcement will take place at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday in the Bob Davis Gym where the Brock Badgers women’s and men’s basketball teams are playing Western. The ceremony will take place between the two games.
Wednesday’s matchups are part of the Annual President’s Game festivities. In attendance will be Brock President Jack Lightstone, along with OUA President Peter Baxter and OUA CEO Gord Grace, who will together make the presentation to Critelli.
The 59-year-old former Olympian calls it an “amazing honour.”
“I can’t believe it because there are so many great people out there who have done so much in the game and for the OUA. So to have them choose me is really neat. I’m honoured and surprised,” she said.
The Niagara-born Critelli is a member of the Canada Basketball, Ontario Basketball and St. Catharines Sports halls of fame. She will also be a first-ballot Brock University Athletics Hall of Famer when she retires.
As a player, Critelli went to the Olympics in 1976 and won three international bronze medals. She is the only player in history to have won both an NCAA and CIS championship, the former twice with Old Dominion and the latter twice with Laurentian.
She has been at Brock University for the past 33 years, serving as Athletic Director, Assistant Athletic Director, Assistant Coach and Head Coach of the women’s basketball team, a title she held for 25 years. She retired from coaching with 393 wins, six divisional titles and an OUA championship to her name.
Critelli said she plans to retire from her Assistant Athletic Director role at Brock in the next year or two and hopes to pen a book about a basketball career that started when she was a child.
“Life is too short. There are things I want to do while I’m young and healthy,” she said.
Asked what moment stands out as a highlight of her career, Critelli said it was representing Canada as an 18 year old at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.
“That was an unbelievable journey. And it wasn’t so much the games that stood out as the opening ceremonies in your own home country,” she said, adding winning the NCAA championships while at Old Dominion in 1978-79 and 1979-80 also stood out.