Varsity basketball is coming to Okanagan College.
A partnership between OC and the Kelowna College Basketball Society will see the college offer women’s and men’s collegiate programs beginning in 2017.
The new partners signed an agreement Tuesday which will see two new teams compete under the Okanagan College Coyotes athletic brand.
The Coyotes will begin their first season with a strong exhibition schedule, with the goal of gaining entrance into the PAC-WEST athletic conference.
Longtime Okanagan basketball coach Dino Gini will be the head coach of the men’s team and will also assist with the women’s program. A women’s head coach will be named shortly.
Doug Sperling will be an assistant coach with the mens program and Chris Oddy, Jamie Boreham and Gene Wolverton will be responsible for recruiting and player development.
Official coaching announcements will be posted in the very near future.
The coaching staff combines more than 85 years of coaching experience and are looking forward to filling a void that has been evident in the region.
“We are incredibly excited about this new partnership with Okanagan College,” said Dino Gini, a longtime coach of the successful Immaculata high school basketball programs.
“We are situated in a hotbed of basketball in the province and we have a number of players who are talented enough to play beyond their high school careers.
“The college is growing every year and offers such great programming that is was a natural fit to add a second athletic team to OC.”
Okanagan College also has a baseball team in its ninth season of competition in the Canadian College Baseball Conference.
“We are looking forward to working with the society to provide a great athletic opportunity for our students,” said Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College.
“We don’t have the kind of athletic team model that allows us to fund intercollegiate sports but through our experience with the baseball team, we have found a way to support the team and provide opportunities for students who have aspirations to be collegiate-level athletes.
“It’s a great example of working with our community to offer an expanded student experience.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the Kelowna College Basketball Society will cover all operating costs associated with the teams.