Avery Harrison became the third head coach in Olds College women’s basketball history in June 2017, guiding the Broncos to the first Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) national championship victory in any CCAA sport in the 2018-19 season, his third national title as a head coach and fourth overall.
Returning to the Broncos was a homecoming for Harrison, an Olds College alumnus who was born in Olds and grew up in Carstairs, attending Hugh Sutherland and Olds High School.
Harrison began his coaching career at Hugh Sutherland High School in Carstairs coaching alongside Blaine Vadnais. In their time together, the team accumulated a 139-15 league and playoff record, taking home gold and silver medals from three provincial championships.
After graduating from the University of Calgary, Harrison began his ACAC coaching career as an assistant with the SAIT Trojans men’s team in the 1980s. In his five seasons with the men’s team, the Trojans won four ACAC banners and appeared in three consecutive CCAA gold medal games, winning in 1986 to cap a perfect 34-0 season.
After being named Head Coach in 1990-91 he guided the team to two ACAC Silver medal finishes and two trips to Nationals. He then coached at Mount Royal College for two seasons taking the team to two ACAC championships, and an appearance in the CCAA National Championship game in 1998. The team went 47-1 in ACAC league and play-offs over that time.
Returning to SAIT in 1998-99 he coached them to a 19-1 regular season record and their first CCAA National Championship. The Trojans followed that up with another National title in 2001. After the 2005-06 season Harrison took a short break from coaching, but returned for a two year stint as an assistant with Mount Royal University.
He was then named Head Coach at Lethbridge College where he remained for four years taking them to a Nationals appearance in 2012. After a one year break he returned to the ACAC basketball court as an assistant Coach with Steve Shoults at St. Mary’s University, and in two seasons the team went to the ACAC final earning two Silvers and the first appearance at the National Championships in the school history.
In 22 years as a head Coach his teams have won 5 ACAC championships, 3 Silver and 5 Bronze, as well as a Silver and 3 Gold at the CCAA National championships. He has coached 43 ACAC All conference players, 11 all Canadians, and three CCAA Players of the Year. His cumulative regular season and playoff record is 326-168 (510-263 overall). As an assistant he was part of four ACAC Gold medals, three Silver and one Bronze, as well as two silver and one Gold at the CCAA national championships.
Harrison picked up his fifth ACAC Coach of the Year award in 2018-19, a season that saw him pick up his 500th career win as a head coach in the ACAC (Feb. 8, 2019 vs. RDC). He also has two CCAA Coach of the Year awards on his resume.
The 2019-20 season will be Harrison’s 34th year coaching in the ACAC, spanning five different decades.