Prince George, BC - With less than a month to go before the start of the new semester the University of Northern British Columbia has hired its new women's basketball coach, Sergey Shchepotkin. Shchepotkin, who currently resides in Olds, Alta. will aim to be in Prince George by September 1.
In 1997 current Athletic Director Loralyn Murdoch started the women's basketball program at UNBC. Since that time Murdoch has been the head coach for the Lady T-Wolves with the exception of a one-year maternity leave and a year during which she attended the National Coaching Institute in Victoria, BC. Shchepotkin will be Murdoch's successor and he comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience. A professional players for 15 years, the Timberwolves new head coach played both in Russia and in Lebanon.
"I played for the CKSA, Central Sports Army Club, in Moscow, Russia. The CKSA is one of the most high profile clubs in Russia, and is well known in Europe. I then played in Lebanon. I played there for eight years but stayed to work as a coach and manager for a sports club," said Shchepotkin.
Shchepotkin's professional experience also includes coaching in a women's professional league in Russia and club teams in Lebanon. Overall Shchepotkin has coached four WNBA players, 24 national team players (Russia, Lebanon, Croatia, and Australia), eight European Champions, two Asian Club Champions, and one bronze medalist from the Olympic Games in Beijing (2008). His depth of on-court knowledge and success coaching at the international and professional level impressed Murdoch. On top of his impressive basketball resume, Shchepotkin has also had the opportunity to work alongside former Canada Women's National team head coach Alison McNeill.
"Sergey will bring a European flavour to UNBC women's basketball. His experience coaching at the premier level in Russia is very exciting and to have a coach as qualified and passionate about the game is going to be great motivation for the players. When you have a candidate that comes highly recommended from our current U19 national team head coach, as well as our former senior women's national team coach, I think the future is very bright," said Murdoch about her new women's basketball head coach.
Shchepotkin is very excited about the move to BC. In 2006 he moved his wife and two children from Russia to Vancouver, BC where they stayed until 2011. After receiving a coaching job at Olds College, Shchepotkin and his family relocated to Alberta but have been looking to return to BC since their move two years ago. Murdoch is also enthusiastic about the addition of Shchepotkin's family to the department.
"Sergey's wife and two children will very much be a part of the program and we look forward to welcoming them to the community and to the UNBC athletic family. His wife also has a basketball background as she was one of the premier players in Russia. Having his wife involved with the girls is going to be a fantastic experience for the student athletes," said Murdoch.
With eyes towards the upcoming season, Shchepotkin has wasted no time in starting to think about his game plan entering the 2013-14 season. "All my thoughts for the upcoming season are surrounding what our game plan is going to be. Our plan is to show at least the same result as last year but trying to do a bit more. I am really very happy and very excited, I just thought today that UNBC is a very young CIS team but the team’s winning tradition is very large," said Shchepotkin.
The Timberwolves will return the majority of their 2012-13 roster. Kady Dandeneau (Pender Island, BC) was the only fifth-year player from the previous season. Key returning veterans include Mercedes VanKoughnett, Emily Kaehn, Sarah Robin, and Jasprit Nijjar. The Timberwolves also add a crop of promising new recruits who will each bring their own positive attributes to the team.
After reflecting on the 2012-13 season and looking forward to the upcoming 2013-14 season, Murdoch was optimistic and excited about the addition of Shchepotkin to the mix.
"The 2013-14 squad has key returning players and some really exciting first years coming in. Sergey has an opportunity to work with the older girls and take from them what it took to be successful, and he has an opportunity to have many new young players that grow with him in his first year as head coach. The 2012-13 team had a tremendous first year in the CIS and I am really looking forward to building on that. I know that Sergey is also keen on improving, building some new traditions and instilling his ideas with the team."
The Timberwolves will start their second year as a probationary member of the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) on November 1 with away games versus the Manitoba Bisons and the Winnipeg Wesmen. They will return the following weekend for their home opener on November 8 against the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack. Live streams of all Timberwolves games, home and away, can be viewed online at unbc.canadawest.tv.
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