Clayton Pottinger is the new UBC Okanagan men’s basketball team head coach. (Contributed)

New UBC Okanagan coach embracing new challenge with Heat

New men’s basketball coach Clayton Pottinger has already hit the ground running

New difficulties face every coach when coming into any new sports team, so Clayton Pottinger is embracing every single one as he transitions into his new role as the UBC Okanagan men’s basketball coach.

After eight years with Red Deer College, Pottinger said that the decision to come to the Okanagan wasn’t an easy one.

“It’s been a gambit of emotions, lots of friends and family that I’m sad to leave,” said Pottinger.

“It’s an opportunity for growth and change, and new challenges are always a good thing in life.”

READ MORE: UBC Okanagan nets new mens basketball coach

READ MORE: UBC Okanagan extends womens basketball coach

Pottinger comes in to UBCO to replace interim head coach Ken Olynk, has wasted no time introducing himself to players at the university and around campus, hosting a shoot-around over the weekend with past, present and perspective players from all over the Okanagan.

The former Red Deer coach had a 137-41 record in his eight years with the Kings, including two conference titles and three national championships berths, winning a silver medal in 2014.

Pottinger will look to use some of the same coaching philosophies that he developed at Red Deer College when he takes over for the Heat.

“I think the similarities made it intriguing, there’s a lot of good basketball in the valley to build strong, home grown teams,” he said.

“That helped me to put together a vision pretty quick. Fundamental thing we can do to bring stability and culture right away and start building.”

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While Kelowna was on Pottinger and his family’s short-list to one day move to, it was the vision for the UBC Okanagan athletics’s program that sold Pottinger on the new coaching gig.

“The more I investigated, I realized we’re on the same page; they get it,” he said.

“Really starting to think I could help them achieve their vision for the basketball program.”

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Excitement played a major role as well as getting immersed in the grassroots of a building program was something Pottinger was always passionate about.

“I am pumped about it. Creating a culture, creating stability, I believe the team can be a playoff team, and be consistently good. You have to respect who you’re working with and where you’re working, and keep moving from there,” he said.

Pottinger will take over full coaching duties at UBC Okanagan on May 15.

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