Departing St. John's Edge coach says opportunity in California is 'win-win'

Departing St. John's Edge coach says opportunity in California is 'win-win'

After a successful first season in the National Basketball League of Canada, the St. John's Edge are in need of a new coach for their second year. 

Former general manager and head coach Jeff Dunlap has accepted an assistant coaching job at California State University, Northridge.

Dunlap says he enjoyed his time in St. John's and wanted to stay, but the personal and professional benefits of the new job were too much to pass up.

"I fell in love with St. John's and Newfoundlanders, and all that that city has to bring. I thought it was a sensational experience," he said. 

"It was just kind of a win-win, it was a perfect storm to take this job and take this opportunity. It had nothing to do at all with wanting to leave."

The new role in California is a homecoming for Dunlap, who grew up right around the corner. It's also a return to college coaching for the 30-year veteran who has coached several elite teams in the NCAA.

"This university sits about six miles from my [family] home, and I played basketball in college here at UCLA, which is not too far up the freeway," he said.

The move will also bring the Dunlap family back together, as his wife and children spent last season living in North Carolina while he coached with the Edge.

'Love and support'

He said the hard work of the front office and success on the court helped build support, but coaching in St. John's was an experience unlike anything else in his career.

"The community just embraced the team in such a way — I just thought that the outpouring of love and support we got was so unique to anywhere else I've ever been," Dunlap said.

"To have that kind of support in minor-league pro basketball, that's kind of unheard of."

As for who will take over for Dunlap behind the Edge bench, he said he doesn't know who'll replace him, the final decision will be up to ownership.

"I believe the product is good ... you're going to attract a lot of good people and [ownership] has just got to decide the criteria, what they're looking for in the next head coach."