Loralyn Murdoch has found her coach.
After taking over as UNBC athletic director in the spring, Murdoch was tasked with finding her replacement to coach the UNBC Timberwolves womens basketball team, which she led since 1997. It was an easy decision to hire Sergey Shchepotkin, a former professional basketball player in Russia and Lebanon, who has coached 24 national team players in four countries, eight European champions, two Asian champions and one bronze medalist at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
His resume was different than anyone elses in the fact that he had so much more international experience and it was the only one that came with a recommendation from our Canadian womens national team coach, said Murdoch.
She said when she contacted national coach Alison McNeill after UNBC posted the position, Shchepotkins name was immediately thrown out as a person she should seek out.
That says a lot, said Murdoch. Shes a very well-known, established coach and has done well on the world scale. She felt he could really carry on the traditions we have here for the future.
Shchepotkin immigrated to Canada with his family in 2006, landing in Vancouver where he stayed until 2011 when he moved to Alberta to coach the mens team at Olds College. Last season, the 45-year-old guided the team in its first season of play in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.
When I moved to Canada it was pretty difficult to find a basketball job, said Shchepotkin. I always wanted to go to a higher level. This position is the position of my dreams. I would like to work with girls team in CIS level. Im very excited about it.
Before arriving in Canada, Shchepotkin played 15 seasons of professional basketball, before beginning his coaching career. His first coaching experience came in Lebanon after he retired when he made the transition from player to coach and manager of the team.
From there he coached Dynamo Moscow, a premier team in the womens professional league in Russia, and several club teams in Lebanon. The Russian league is similar in calibre to the Womens National Basketball League. Shchepotkin coached four WNBA players on Dynamo Moscow.
Shchepotkin said his experience as a player helps him as a coach because he knows what the players are going through.
I played professional so I kind of understand from players side, he said.
Im not really a dictator. Im trying to see the strongest sides of each player and trying to realize where we can use their strongest side. I like democracy, but it should go by my rules.
Murdoch started the UNBC womens basketball program in 1997 and except for two seasons - a maternity leave and when she attended the National Coaching Institute in Victoria - has been on the sidelines with the women every season.
The T-wolves will start their second probationary season in the CIS after a stellar run in the B.C. Colleges Athletic Association/PACWEST. The T-wolves finished with an 8-14 record in their inaugural season in the CIS.
UNBC only had one graduating player (Kady Dandeneau) last season, and will return a veteran lineup led by Mercedes Van Koughnett, Emily Kaehn, Sarah Robin and Jasprit Nijjar.
Shchepotkin said he and his wife - a former professional basketball player in Russia - wanted to raise their family in British Columbia and hes looking forward to carrying on the UNBC winning tradition in womens basketball.
I understand its going to be challenging for me to take this place after [Murdoch] but Ill try my best, said Shchepotkin. We love this place [B.C.] and were comfortable here.