The Bobcats’ season may be over, but the month of March will be extremely busy off the court at Brandon University.
BU’s search committee for a new athletic director met Friday, with Gil Cheung’s status as Bobcats men’s basketball coach also slated to be discussed this month. As for the other coaches, BU women’s volleyball coach Lee Carter and men’s volleyball coach Russ Paddock continue to finalize the process of obtaining tenure and are expected to begin their eighth seasons at the helm of their teams this fall, while new BU women’s basketball coach Novell Thomas is set to arrive in Brandon later this month.
Cheung’s situation is expected to be addressed this month as he completes his initial two-year stint at BU, with his Bobcats showing progress in a rebuilding season by going from a 4-20 record in 2010-11 to 7-13 this season.
“The employer will now begin a review of his two-year probationary period,” BU vice-president Scott Lamont confirmed Friday.
While Cheung’s team missed the playoffs for a second straight season, he was happy with the team’s development in a year in which he brought in 10 new players and hopes to be able to oversee the team’s progress for years to come.
“I’d love to be here for a long time,” Cheung said. “My family is here. I think we’ve got a great group of young players with (Canada West rookie of the year) Ilarion (Bonhomme), Ali (Benabdelhak), Emerick (Ravier). We had a great recruiting class and I think we have another great class coming in. I think we’re just starting to build something here and I’d love to stay for the long haul and bring a winning tradition back to Brandon.”
Meanwhile, Lamont confirmed that BU received more than 15 quality applications for the vacant athletic director position that Paddock filled on an interim basis this past season.
“We have a good response (to the opening) and ... we have a committee formed and the process ready to go,” Lamont stated, adding they hope to have a new A.D. hired by the first of April.
“It will be a similar timeframe as the women’s basketball coach. It could take as little as a few weeks, it could take three. In certain circumstances, once you’ve chosen a candidate or two and start checking references, sometimes that can take a little bit longer. I hesitate to say it will only be a couple of weeks, but it could be between two weeks and four weeks.”
Paddock has confirmed that he has officially applied for the position, hoping to again split his coaching and A.D. duties.
“It’s a position that interests me,” Paddock said. “... I think there’s lots of opportunity in the coming year for the athletic department to develop with the new building. There are a lot of things that can be done and I’m interested in leading that area.”
Lamont said BU is open to considering Paddock as the permanent replacement.
“It’s open to a possibility of a coach being an athletic director, but the most normal circumstances is where you have one person who’s doing that as their job and a bit of teaching as well,” he said. “But there’s certainly nothing that would prevent the committee from doing both jobs.”
Meanwhile, Thomas is slated to begin his first day on the job at BU on March 23 after signing a five-year contract last month to take over from interim coach Ritchie Jacobson as head of the Bobcats women’s basketball program, which has gone winless in back-to-back seasons.
NOTES: Brandon’s Lisa Barclay had five kills and six digs to help the defending champion UBC Thunderbirds beat Queen’s University 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-16) in the quarter-finals to advance to today’s semifinals in the CIS women’s volleyball championship in Hamilton. Barclay is a 19-year-old second-year left side player and a graduate of the Crocus Plainsmen ... Russell native Brock Nixon of the University of Calgary Dinos has been named February’s Canada West men’s hockey Husky-WHL graduate of the month. Nixon fired four goals and set up two others to help the Dinos go 3-0-1 in their final four games to finish in fourth place with a 15-11-2 record.
With Files From James Shewaga.