UFV men’s basketball coach Friesen loses interim tag

Adam Friesen has job security for the next two seasons after inking a contract with the University of the Fraser Valley men's b-ball team.

Dan Kinvig,

Black Press

When he was hired as interim head coach of the University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team last summer, Adam Friesen knew he’d have one season to make a good first impression.

It was a bit of a pressure cooker to start with, certainly, but he didn’t know it would devolve into a full-fledged trial by fire.

Friesen’s Cascades navigated wave after wave of adversity from the time that former bench boss Barnaby Craddock departed to take the helm of the Alberta Golden Bears last June.

To begin with, veteran starters Joel Friesen and Jasper Moedt transferred to Alberta to join Craddock (Moedt has since returned and will play for UFV again this fall).

The team also weathered a litany of injuries, most notably to fifth-year stars Kyle Grewal and Sam Freeman.

To top it all off, the Cascades had to forfeit two victories late in the season due to an inadvertent eligibility violation. Their record sank from 12-10 to 10-12 as a result, and they had to re-clinch their playoff berth on the final weekend of the regular season.

But through it all, Friesen and the Cascades persevered – they upset the top-seeded Saskatchewan Huskies on the road in the first round of the playoffs, and came within one win of a trip to nationals, ultimately succumbing to the UBC Thunderbirds in the Canada West semifinals.

UFV rewarded Friesen on Tuesday – in a move that had been in the works for weeks, they officially removed the interim tag and signed him to a two-year contract.

“The first year definitely threw a lot at myself and at our team,” Friesen noted with a chuckle. “But maybe in some way, it turned out to be somehow beneficial for me. There was no time, from when I got to job to when the season was over, for me to ever be complacent with getting it (the job) . . . It was just a constant go-go-go.”

Friesen, a Yale Secondary graduate whose father Al coaches the Yale Lions senior boys team, said it’s a thrill to coach in his hometown.

“Just to coach at the university level in Canada was always the dream,” he said. “To have the opportunity to do it in Abbotsford with my friends and family here, it’s extra special.”

Cascades athletic director Rocky Olfert’s decision to stick with Friesen rather than solicit outside applications speaks to his confidence that the incumbent is the right man for the job.

“You talk about throwing everything at a coach in one year – he faced it all,” Olfert marvelled. “Winning a playoff series and getting to the Final Four, I’m not sure how many people would have given him a chance to do that.

“Adam showed great leadership, and he’s proven he can coach at this level. He’s still and young coach and has things to learn, but I’m really happy with the direction Adam has taken the program.”

Olfert said Friesen is passionate about representing the university at the highest level.

“He’s a player’s coach, too,” Olfert said. “He’ll bend over backwards for his athletes on and off the court. He wants them to succeed in the classroom and do well in all areas of their lives, and when you have a coach with that kind of heart, it goes a long way. They play hard for him.”

Just Posted

New ‘meowyoral’ race featuring felines announced by Chilliwack animal shelter

Organizers hope the cat election will generate attention for both the shelter and municipal election

VIDEO: Education Minister talks SOGI 123 and the Chilliwack school board election

He said people are making ‘noise about side issues but student safety is important’

Chilliwack athletes win provincial titles at Cultus Lake Triathlon

Close to 700 athletes competed in several distances, with action starting at Cultus Lake Park.

Chilliwack Chiefs add defenceman Alexander Marrocco

Marrocco is the younger brother of PJ Marrocco, a forward from last spring’s RBC Cup champions.

Rally in the Valley in Chilliwack to talk stewardship

It’s an event to connect interested locals with groups making a difference with species at risk

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Lower Mainland city calls for slower trains near popular beach

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said ‘it’s the least we can do’

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

A B.C. society helps to reforest Crown land after wildfires

Forest Enhancement Society of BC focuses on wildfire mitigation and the reforestation

Most Read