Duffie hired as new Axemen hoop coach

John Decoste jdecoste@kingscountynews.ca
Published on August 5, 2014
Kevin Duffie
Communications Nova Scotia

Acadia University announced Tuesday, Aug. 5 the hiring of Grand Falls, N.B., native Kevin Duffie as the new head coach of the Axemen basketball program.

Duffie replaces Steve Baur who resigned last week to take a position with Canada’s national women’s program.

Director of Athletics Kevin Dickie said in an Aug. 5 media release that the head coaching position was filled quickly for a reason.

“I’m not looking at this as Kevin Duffie conveniently replacing anybody,” he said. “This is about Acadia Axemen basketball continuing to strive to get better.”

He added, “I was a reference for Kevin for two other CIS coaching opportunities that he was very close to getting. There is no question he is ready, and a perfect fit for our program.”

Dickie added, “if this parallels Steve Baur’s hiring and success as a young coach, that is a coincidence.” Duffie, he said, “has carved his own path over the past few years that has led him to this opportunity.

“I’m very excited that Acadia basketball and our student-athletes are in very good hands in 2014 and the seasons ahead.”

Duffie, a former Axemen player, spent six seasons as an Acadia assistant coach under Baur. He joined the Acadia staff a year after winning a CIS silver medal as a member of the 2007-2008 Axemen.

In December of 2013, he was hired as Technical Director for Basketball Nova Scotia, leaving his position as Program Coordinator with Acadia’s SMILE program.

He has spent the past few summers coaching provincial basketball teams, winning a national silver medal in 2011. He has represented Nova Scotia as a coach at four national championships and at the Canada Games.

With a strong understanding of the values and traditions of Acadia basketball, Duffie believes he is the right fit for the program.

“I believe the program is headed in the right direction, and I am excited to build on its recent successes and be part of the next era of Axemen basketball,” he said.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to lead the Axemen basketball team now and into the future. We have a great crop of current players, and recruits that can come in and make a difference right away.”

Speaking later Tuesday evening, Duffie  said he was pretty excited at the new opportunity.

Asked if the job offer had come as a surprise to him, Duffie admitted, "a week-and-a-half ago, it certainly would have been."

He confirmed he had been "in talks (with Acadia) as soon as Steve announced he was leaving." Dickie, he said, "reached out to me. I was interviewed on Saturday, and found out Sunday I had the job."

Duffie said he was "thankful (coach Baur) allowed me time to develop and grow" during his six years as an assistant coach. 

Duffie, 28, spent one season, 2007-2008, as an Axemen player, then became an assistant coach the following season, "while I was still a student."

He had volunteered for the SMILE program as a student, then worked for SMILE as program director for four years, until he accepted the Basketball Nova Scotia job.

He admitted, "I had wanted to be a head coach someday, ever since I started (coaching) when I was 21 or 22." The possibility had become "more and more realistic" over the past couple of years.

Asked the length of Duffie's contract, Kevin Dickie said only that it was "a permanent contract, like the rest of our head coaches, though we aren't going to go into details."

Dickie said Tuesday evening via email that he had "no interest in an interim situation. We wanted a guy for the long term, we had competitive options, and we found our guy. It's all good, and we're excited."