While the name remains a mystery, the coaching staff is firmed up — and a veteran of the U.S. college ranks is at the helm as head coach of the National Basketball League of Canada’s newest franchise in St. John’s.
“My family has lost their minds,” Jeff Dunlap told CBC News on Thursday. “They can’t wait to get up here and visit. It’s gorgeous.”
Dunlap spent the last seven years as an assistant coach with the North Carolina State Wolfpack, where he helped the team to two appearances in the NCAA’s coveted Sweet 16 — the latter stage of a tournament featuring 68 of the best college teams in America.
He also spent time with the University of Alabama, University of Western Michigan and University of Georgia.
“I’ve been a college basketball coach for 30 years,” he said. “That’s been great. But you’re always intrigued at the professional side.”
The St. John’s team, co-owned by health-food multi-millionaire Irwin Simon, also named British Columbia’s Doug Plumb as an assistant coach.
Plumb comes to St. John’s from the NBL Canada’s defending champion London Lightning, where he served as the team’s chief assistant coach and head scout.
Plumb also played in the pro ranks with the International Basketball Federation between 2013 and 2015.
A sweet deal, new coach says
Dunlap was approached three weeks ago and was impressed by the team’s ownership.
As soon as he did a Google search for St. John’s, he became even more intrigued. Never one to anchor in one city for long, Dunlap was up for a new adventure.
Plus, it was a good fit for his family.
“My son loves to fish,” he said. “So look out in the spring when we’re up there. He’s going to be all over that.”
The push is now on to recruit players. There is a draft scheduled for Oct. 22 in Windsor, Ont. with the St. John’s franchise having the first pick.
Dunlap hopes to have most of his team in place before the draft, however.
“There’s a ton of wannabe professional basketball players out there, and you’d be shocked at how good they are,” he said. “It’s my job to recruit them now. I’ve done that my whole life.”
Despite not having a great knowledge of the city, Dunlap will try to sell new players on the…