Jason Kerswill, director of athletics and recreation at UNBC, is leaving his post at the school to take a high-profile job with Canada Basketball.
Kerswill, 33, has been appointed as manager of the men's high-performance program and will work alongside people like Steve Nash, general manager of the men's national team, and Rowan Barrett, the executive vice president and assistant general manager.
"Coming to UNBC as the athletic director was a dream job and working for Canada Basketball in this capacity is also a dream job, especially at this time with all the talent around the program," Kerswill said. "I'm looking forward to it."
Kerswill was hired at UNBC in July of 2010. He replaced Len McNamara, who had been relieved of his duties 10 months earlier.
Kerswill's last day at UNBC will be April 5. He and his family will move to Toronto and he'll begin his new job on April 15.
UNBC will start the search for a new athletics director almost immediately.
UNBC president George Iwama said Kerswill will be missed. During Kerswill's tenure as director of athletics, the school's basketball and soccer teams made the jump from the provincial college league into the Canada West Conference of Canadian Interuniversity Sport.
"As one of the people regularly in the stands at basketball and soccer games, I want to thank Jason for his leadership in bringing UNBC to the CIS," Iwama said. "He has been engaging all students in athletics and even established the first 'appreciation night' for the faculty and staff who assist our athletes in their studies. I'd like to thank Jason for being such a believer in the power of sport to inspire young and old alike."
At Canada Basketball, Kerswill will take a position formerly held by Andrew Cook, who departed to pursue another opportunity. The hiring process had been underway for about a month.
Kerswill will oversee the planning process for the men's national team program, as well as coaching and athlete development. Specific duties will include the development of a talent identification and tracking system, the fostering of athlete training and mentoring and lending support for international competitions.
"The opportunity was too good to pass up," said Kerswill, a former CIS-level basketball player who holds a masters degree in sports administration from the University of Ottawa.
Kerswill is all smiles about the chance to help Canada's national team grow in prominence on the international scene. Being associated with Nash, a current Los Angeles Laker and one of the greatest NBA players of all time, will be a nice perk as well.
"How often the two of us will be mentioned in the same sentence remains to be seen," Kerswill said with a chuckle. "I haven't met him personally but I've had the opportunity to speak with a few people at Canada Basketball about the leadership that he's bringing to the men's program and the timing of his decision to come back and be the GM of the men's national team program. I think the pieces are in place to usher in a new era of Canada Basketball on the men's side.
"The timing is right to get involved and hopefully play a small role in getting the team back to the Olympics and start being competitive on the world scene."
Kerswill, who has family members and several friends in Toronto, said the UNBC athletics program is well-positioned to move forward within Canada West. The basketball and soccer teams will enter their second Canada West seasons in September.
"Going from national contenders [in basketball] at the [college] level to learning the ropes at the Canada West level wasn't easy for the athletes and it's going to continue to take a lot of work and energy to get the programs where they need to be," he said. "But, the program is in a good place. There's a lot of support in the community and around the campus. The leadership demonstrated by Dr. Iwama and the administrative team here at UNBC has been paramount to moving the process along. I see good things ahead for UNBC and the Timberwolves."