As much as the Okanagan Sun dreamt of a fairytale ending, the 2012 B.C. Football Conference season concluded in somewhat predictable fashion Saturday in Nanaimo.
Just five days after the dismissal of first-year head coach Gavin Lake, the B.C. Football Conference club went down to defeat at the hands of the Vancouver Island Raiders in the conference semifinal.
Now the search officially begins for a new head coach for the 2013 campaign.
“We’ve already had a number of inquiries, I’d say there are five or six people who have contacted us already and are interested in the job,” said Sun president Paul Carson. “Obviously we want to give our new head coach as much time as possible to prepare, leading into next season.”
The Sun’s most recent hiring didn’t go nearly as well as the club planned after Lake was officially brought in on May 1 to replace the departed Jason Casey.
Under Lake, the youth-laden Sun struggled to find both consistency and an identity, and plodded to a 3-7 record, including 1-4 at home.
“We’re in a much better position than last last time in that we’ll have more time with the hiring process. I’m optimistic about the quality of person we’ll be able to get,” Carson said. “Unlike when we hired in the spring, football seasons are ending right now and coaches are thinking about what they’ll be doing next season. We should have greater numbers of qualified people applying. We’ll see what unfolds over the next couple of months.”
With Carson serving as interim coach, the Sun’s season ended Saturday afternoon in a 34-8 loss to the six-time defending champs. Okanagan hung tough for 30 minutes and led 8-3 at the half, before the real Raiders arrived and
Carson, who wanted to see energy, enthusiasm and effort from his players wasn’t disappointed.
“I give the guys full credit, they responded out of the gate, they were emotional and they had a good first half,” he said. “But it was difficult to maintain that emotional high, and once the momentum turned in the Raiders’ favour it was difficult to get it back. (Vancouver Island) is a very good football team and once they started making plays, the game got away.
“But again, our team did everything that was asked of them, they fought hard and there was no lack of effort.”
Slotback Bobby Davis is one of seven players who is graduating from the Sun program.
Despite a disappointing fifth and final season, the West Kelowna product has no regrets about his time in brown and orange.
“We didn’t get started early on developing team chemistry and I think that kind of caught up with us,” said Davis, who will practise with the CFL’s B.C. Lions for the rest of the season. “It was a learning year for the organization, but we’ve a lot of good people on the board and I’m confident they’ll get it figured out.
“Obviously I hoped for better at the end, but I still have a lot of good memories of my five years here.”
Until the Sun board of directors meet later this week, Carson can’t predict when the club might aim to have a new head coach in place. However, before Christmas would be a preferable timeline for the BCFC team.