With one of the two available CIS jobs now filled – at tomorrow morning’s press conference at Laurier, the Golden Hawks will announce that uOttawa Assistant Coach Justin Serresse will replace legendary Peter Campbell as Head Coach – only the Cape Breton job has yet to be filled. Informed sources report that a young, up-and-coming existing CIS Head Coach recently turned down the Capers Head Coaching position so CBU has interviewed at least three other potential candidates including an existing CIS Assistant Coach and two existing Quebec CEGEP Head Coaches. While talk swirls that Cape Breton University as a whole is mired in financial issues, it is probably closer to the truth to say that Capers have a more-focused athletic budget with only 4 varsity teams (men’s & women’s basketball and men’s and women’s soccer) – recall that in a cost-cutting measure Capers discontinued women’s volleyball in April, 2015. Further, our understanding of the compensation package for the men’s basketball Head Coach is competitive with many other jobs across the country. Sydney and Cape Breton have always supported their basketball programs and it is not a reach to believe that a coach with strong recruiting ties to the larger Canadian metropolitan areas could quickly build a program that could compete for an AUS regular season and tournament crown. Former Coach Matt Skinn, who resigned to be closer to family in Calgary, had his Capers at the CIS Final 8 as recently as 2012-13 in Ottawa and a solid cast of returning veterans provide whoever the new coach is with a solid foundation. This could potentially provide a golden opportunity for the right leader to build a perennial Top 10 team… While not a CIS job, Simon Fraser is also seeking a new Head Coach in the aftermath of Virgil Hill‘s parting with the Burnaby school. Talk is that two U.S. and two Canadian coaches are being considered. Much has been written and discussed about the circumstances around Hill’s departure, most notably a one-sided article by the SFU student newspaper that was interpreted by many as negative toward Hill. It is unfortunate that both sides of the story have not yet been well understood by the general public – currently only the questionable recollection of a departed malcontent player has been released. Having known Virgil for 20+ years both as a basketball coach and person/family man, in my strong opinion the allegations against Hill are completely out of character – there is absolutely no way Virgil would disparage another culture as it was written in that SFU student newspaper. Hill has a proven track record and passion for developing strong, mature young men through discipline, respect and character building. I repeat a quote attributed to Basketball Immersion web site that was re-tweeted by one of the finest coaches in our sport, Chris Oliver, that I believe to be very appropriate for this discussion:
“We are so focused on self-esteem that we have stopped coaching players. Hard coaching does not mean you are an *&%@# to a player. It means you challenge them to be better and hold them accountable to what you teach.”
Once again, I support Virgil Hill in this issue and hope that eventually both sides of the story are heard and communicated at some point. In news related to the CIS, 6’3″ Kadar Wright (Brampton Campion), who played two seasons at UBC, has committed to the Clan and is eligible to play beginning this season.