'I won’t be the last': Sask. woman becomes first female to coach men’s professional sports team in the province

Paige Crozon is making her mark joining the Saskatchewan Rattlers, becoming the first female coach of a men’s professional team in the province.

On Tuesday the Saskatchewan Rattlers announced the new 2021 staff, declaring Crozon the assistant coach for the basketball team.

"I’m very honoured to have the title … however I know I won’t be the last female and I’m very much so a product of my upbringing," Crozon told CTV News.

Corzon said she’s had strong female coaches and leaders since high school.

“I’m in this position as a result of the people that have instilled that 'strong woman' leadership quality within me.” 

Originally from Humboldt, she recently made the transition from athlete to coach. Crozon is currently the assistant coach for the University of Lethbridge’s women’s basketball team and manager of the Living Skies Indigneous Basketball League.

Crozon says it’s a "huge honour" to coach a basketball team in her home province.

"Growing up in Saskatchewan I watched sports at every level of basketball at every level of growing up so to be able to come home and be a part of something that I feel so connected to makes me really proud and something I’m very excited for."

Crozon brings a lot to the table.

She played for the Canadian National team for nine years. With the team she’s played three world championships, the Pan American Games, Commonwealth Games and more.

She’s also played professionally in Europe in the Premier German League.

As she enters her first year as the assistant coach with the team, she hopes to be an inspiration to young girls, particularly her two-year-old daughter Poppy.

"Representation does matter so I’m excited to have young girls in Saskatchewan have the opportunity to see a female coaching on a men’s professional team," Crozon said.

Crozon is currently in Lethbridge but will be returning to Saskatchewn in time for the 2021 basketball season.

"This will be my first time with professional staff from a coaching perspective so I’m really looking forward to working with the other coaches and stepping into the professional realm of sports."

The Rattlers will be facing the Edmonton Stingers for their first home opener on June 7.

Rattlers head coach Chad Jacobson says Corzon is a decorated player whose experience translates well to the team.

“I think she’s, you know, a bright, bright coach, very eager to learn, eager to work and we’re really excited to have her on our staff,” Jacobson said.

Her past playing experience at a high level adds value to the staff and that the organization is excited to have her onboard, he said.

“She understands what it takes to be successful as a team and what that’s all about.”