Announcing 2018 REACHgathering Plenary Speaker - Susan Stewart: Olympian; Coach; Author; Local Church Sports Minister
Olympian Susan Stewart enjoyed a 22-year playing career, including 12 years on the Canadian Women’s National Team. She represented Canada at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, 1994 FIBA World Championships, 1991 Pan American Games (fourth place), and 1991 FISU World Student Games (third place).
Stewart had an incredibly successful intercollegiate basketball career at Laurentian University from 1989-95, winning the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) title five years during her six-year tenure and winning back-to-back Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Championships in 1989-90 and 1990-91. Stewart had a standout season the following year when she was named OUA All-Star and OUA Player of the Year, and at the national level she was a CIS First-Team All-Canadian and the recipient of the Nan Copp Award for CIS Player of the Year. Stewart was an OUA All-Star four additional years during her playing career at Laurentian. To top it all off, Laurentian’s 1989-90 and 1990-91 women’s basketball teams were inducted into the Laurentian Voyageur Hall of Fame in 2005 and 2010, respectively. Stewart also received Laurentian’s Hall of Fame Vogayeur Award in 2003.
Stewart then played professional basketball in Germany and later attended the WNBA draft camp, where she was selected by the Detroit Shock. After her playing career, Stewart began coaching, beginning with Ontario Basketball club, Mississauga Monarchs, and Ontario Basketball high performance programs, including Centre for Performance and Bantam Development Program. She continued as a graduate assistant for the women’s team at Malone College. She has since coached various club and high school teams, and helped establish the Ontario Basketball club: Mississauga Wolverines. Stewart is a NCCP Level 3 Certified Coach and has worked as the Assistant Coach at Ryerson University and the University of Toronto.
Stewart has always been heavily involved in the sport community in her hometown, Mississauga where she currently runs a drop-in basketball program at her church, and she has served on the Mississauga Sports Council in various roles since 2009. She is currently President of the organization, and in 2010 she sat on the mayor’s Sports Taskforce and chaired the Annual Mississauga Sports Awards Dinner. She received a Volunteer Service Award in 2014 to recognize her contributions to the Council.
Stewart has received many additional awards and recognitions including being inducted into the Ontario Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016 and was the first basketball athlete inducted into the Mississauga Sports Hall of Fame. She earned another citation in 2015 when she received the Mayor Hazel McCallion Spirt of Sport Award and in the same year, she was also recognized by the Malone University Alumni Association when she was awarded Graduate School Alumna of the Year.
In 2015, Stewart published Unbreakable: The Autobiography of the Life of Susan Stewart, which chronicled her recovery from a devastating brain injury that left her in a coma for months. She claims only the power of God restored her life and has enabled her to bounce back from what was described as a condition she would never recover from. While she still suffers from some of the lingering effects of the brain aneurism and brain stem injury, her positive attitude and work ethic has made her an inspirational hero to all who know her. Stewart now works as a motivational speaker to deliver a message of encouragement and inspiration based on her life experiences and directs the Sports Ministry of her church where she also works in the children's ministry and Sunday School ministry.