CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Coach K is coming back.
The Island Storm announced Wednesday Tim Kendrick will return for his second year as head coach of the National Basketball League of Canada squad.
“I’m very excited to be back,” he said Wednesday, noting his love for the franchise, its players, a hard-working management team and supportive owner. “It’s a great situation for me and my family.”
The parties agreed on a one-year deal, but terms were not disclosed.
“His first year was a huge step for our organization in terms of getting a coach that bought into the community aspect, the business aspect and, of course, winning basketball,” said senior vice-president Brett Poirier. “He did all of that for us and more.”
The Storm went 19-21 in the regular season. They led the Atlantic Division at times, but ran into some injury issues. The team finished fourth in the division and lost to the Halifax Hurricanes in the first round of the playoffs. The Hurricanes lost Game 7 of the final to the London Lightning.
It was the Storm’s best record in the past three seasons and Poirier said it speaks to Kendrick’s talents as a lifelong coach.
“Doing that in his first pro season is pretty remarkable,” he said. “We were really pleased with that outcome.”
Kendrick, a 55-year-old Wolfville, N.S., native, said the players and league continue to improve annually.
“It’s a very exciting time in the league,” he said. “I couldn't be happier to be where I am right now.”
He acknowledged there was a learning curve getting into the pro game where there’s a salary cap and players are trying to make a living to support their families. He learned a lot and is better prepared to build the squad than when he was hired in August 2017.
Kendrick’s goal is to have the Storm amongst the league leaders annually and strive to bring a championship to the Island.
“We want to get to a position where we are a perennial power,” he said.
It is what he did while building the Horton High School team in Nova Scotia and with the UPEI during his six-year tenure with the Panthers. He replaced Joe Salerno, who coached the Storm for the first six years of its existence. Salerno now coaches the Moncton Magic.