Darren Graham named new RDC Kings Basketball head coach

After a two-month search, the RDC Kings basketball team has finally found the man to lead them forward.

Darren Graham was named the new bench boss on Monday. Former head coach Clayton Pottinger took a job coaching the University of British Columbia-Okanagan Heat in March and stepped away from the Kings.

Graham is an RDC alumnus, playing with the Kings from 1996-98 and spent the past four years as an assistant coach for the Concordia University Thunder.

This past season, the Thunder (20-4) finished first in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference North Division regular season and captured silver at the ACAC Men’s Basketball Championship in Lloydminster.

Along with college experience, Graham also honed his coaching skills at the high school level. During his time with the Thunder, he coached the Millwoods Christian Royals. In 2018, he led the group to an Alberta Schools Athletic Association Senior Boys 2A provincial silver medal. For his efforts, he was selected as Metro Athletics Tier 2 Coach of the Year.

“Darren will bring a lot of passion to our program from the perspectives of a coach and past player,” said Diane St-Denis, RDC Athletic Director in a press release.

“When combined with his ability to build strong relationships and his coaching experience, I am confident he will continue to build on our program’s strong tradition.”

Last season, the Kings finished second in the south division with a 13-8 record. They opened the 2018-19 ACAC Men’s Basketball Championships with a loss to University of Alberta-Augustana. In 2017-18 they were 14-8. Overall, under Pottinger, the Kings were 137-41, winning two ACAC Conference titles and earning three national championship berths. Those are big shoes to fill for the new man on the job.

“I am very proud and honoured to be the coach of the RDC Kings, and I want to continue the culture of success,” said Graham in a press release.

“The Kings Basketball program exemplifies hard work and excellence on and off of the court. I look forward to challenging our group of guys to compete with the best in the ACAC, by maximizing their capacities as student-athletes and young men.”

Graham added that playing for the Kings was a special time in his life, including a trip to the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Championship and hopes he can create some of those same memories for his new players.

“I value the Red Deer community, along with the experiences and memories from RDC that influenced my life journey,” added Graham.

“I am passionate about paying that sentiment forward to the next generation of Red Deer College student-athletes.”

The Kings will open the ACAC season next year at home on Oct. 19 against the Olds College Broncos.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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