After three years coaching men's soccer at Canada's green university, Alan Alderson is moving on to greener pastures.
Alderson's pending departure as head coach to a yet-to-be announced destination leaves a large void for the UNBC Timberwolves, less than a month before they begin their pre-season.
"The difficult part about this is I've been so excited about the progress of our program at UNBC," said Alderson in a UNBC release. "We set a fantastic foundation, and developed a talented group of young men who are great students and athletes. The upcoming season looks very promising for the team."
Alderson took over at UNBC in June 2012, just as the team was making the jump from the B.C. college league to university soccer in Canadian Interuniversity Sport's Canada West Conference. Alderson came to Prince George with 20 years of experience coaching college and university teams, including a lengthy stint as head coach of the Trinity Western University men's team. He was at the helm in 2001 when the Spartans moved up to CIS from the B.C. Colleges Athletic Association and was director of coaching for a soccer development program in Calgary when UNBC hired him.
Alderson is away on vacation until Aug. 6 and was unavailable for comment. His last day at UNBC is Aug. 16.
The hunt is now on for an interim coach to replace Alderson. UNBC athletics director Loralyn Murdoch expects to have that position filled within the next week. She said the university will hold off on making it a permanent position until the season is over and a fuller slate of candidates will be available.
"The timing is not ideal by any means but we're headhunting now and looking to fill it with an interim position to get us through the season and if we have the right candidate for the interim we can extend that," said Murdoch. "There will be a posting for the head coaching position in November or December. Because it is so late in the day, I think we have an attractive offering here at UNBC but people probably aren't going to be leaving their position at this point in time to take this."
In April, T-wolves assistant coach Sonny Pawar announced he was moving to Victoria after nine years with the men's team, including a six-year stint as head coach when UNBC was part of the B.C. college league. The assistant's post is a volunteer position and Pawar's replacement has not been announced.
Head coach Andy Cameron and assistant Iain Flannagan both plan to return to the UNBC women's team.
In their short CIS history, the UNBC men have never come close to making the Canada West playoffs, compiling a 5-31-3 record over three seasons. Last year was their best at 3-9-0, but they still finished eight points out of the playoffs.
"We're in a pretty fortunate position because Alan has done a fantastic job with his group," said Murdoch. "They're one year older now and they're all sticking together and I think the leadership I've seen in Tofa (third-year strike Fakunle) and Ty (fourth-year goalie Venhola) has been fantastic. They're rallying the troops and there's been no dissension among the ranks.
"He has a couple new recruits again this year and those great recruits we had two years ago and last year are now one year older. It's going to be an attractive position for a coach to come into with such a great group of young men that are really wanting to get that ultimate goal of making the playoffs and winning a national championship."
The T-wolves have their alumni game in Prince George Aug. 15, then leave two days later for a series of exhibition games in Kamloops and Calgary. They open the season Sept. 11-12 in Victoria and play their home-opening series Sept. 26-27 against Fraser Valley.