With roots in Stettler, former University of Alberta women’s basketball coach Trix Baker has been recognized with a 2010 Sports Hall of Fame Award from the Edmonton university.
“It is a great honour to receive this award,” said Baker who lived in Stettler until she graduated from high Wm. E Hay school as Trix Kannekens in 1976.
“I think because I have invested so many years of my life at the U of A, it is extra special.”
“This really is my life – being part of a athletics and receiving this honour just makes it all worthwhile,” said Baker who will be celebrated during the Alumni recognition Awards held Sept. 22.
Baker helped build U of A’s reputation as a leader in sport.
As a student, she played on the Panda’s women’s basketball team from 1976 to 1981, competing in three national championships and was named and all-Canadian and team most valuable player three times in 1979, 1980 and 1981.
The Pandas’ second-all-time leading scorer, she holds the record for highest single-season points-per-game average at 14.3.
As a coach, she worked with the Alberta provincial and Canadian national teams and at the University of Lethbridge before returning to her alma mater as head coach of the Pandas, a position she held for 15 years from 1991 to 2006.
In 1999, she led the Pandas to their first ever Canadian Inter-university Sports national championship (then known as Canadian Inter-university Athletic Union – CIAU).
Further, she was a recipient of the Canada West Coach of the Year in 1999 when she also won the 3M Coach of the Year and received an Alberta Coaching Recognition Award in 2000.
Born in Castor, she lived in Stettler with her parents Martin and Jane, older brother Jeff and younger brother Brian.
Growing up in a small rural community greatly influenced her youth, sports and future.
“I think living in a small town helps you to cherish friendships and develop loyalty to a team,” said Baker.
“There really wasn’t much else to do in a small town – so playing sports definitely kept me out of trouble and motivated me to got to university,” said Baker.
After she started to play high school basketball in Grade-9, she was named athlete of the year in Grade 12 for William E. Hay Composite High School in Stettler.
“But once I started playing, I really enjoyed it,” said Baker, who was inspired by Al Lagore who coached the team in her first two seasons.
“He really was a great technical coach and it was always fun to play on his teams.”
“He found a balance between being intense but also making it fun.”
She also credited her coaching skills to her university coach Deb Shogan.
“Coaching and playing have both given me great friendships and taught me the proper perspective on success and measuring accomplishments,” said Baker who received a Bachelor of Physical Education in1980 and a Masters Degree in Arts specializing in sports psychology in1985.
“My greatest sense of accomplishment comes from watching the athletes I coach become better basketball players but also players with high moral fiber and a great sense of family and loyalty.”
In the game, winning wasn’t the only goal.
“When I was playing or coaching, the game was intense and important but when it was all over, it was more important to cherish the friendships among the team and between the teams,’ said Baker, who now works halftime for the men’s Bears and Pandas athletics program in the area of sponsorships and development.
“Many of my closest friends were the coaches I competed against.”
“Winning was nice but never more important than watch the young woman I coached develop into very special people,” said Baker, who also played high school volleyball, badminton and also competed in cross-country running and track and field.
U of A Sports Hall of Fame recognizes the impact alumni have had on student athletes on campus and beyond.
University of Alberta Alumni Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of U of A alumni in several categories to high significant contributions of alumni to their local communities and beyond.