Sun Name New Head CoachPosted in Featured, Sports
The Okanagan Sun are proud announce the 13th Head Coach in franchise history. Newmarket, Ontario native Gavin Lake takes the reins after Jason Casey stepped down last month and becomes the third head coach in four years.
Lake was chosen from a list of six qualified finalists, some local, some from out of the market. Most recently, Lake served as head coach with the Amstetten Thunder in the Europe second division in Austria. Despite the distance, he was heavily pursued by the Sun front office not having initially applied for the position. He will honour his commitment with the Thunder and leave them in the best possible situation.
In an email from Austria, Lake says, “I am grateful for the opportunity to get to work for this flagship in the BCFC and CJFL community. Working hard to make the club, team, alumni and Kelowna community proud of this team is of paramount importance. Fielding a highly competitive program, with character, intelligent, fast and tough rs who love the game of football is the plan. Building a quality group of assistant coaches, recruiting Sun players, grinding the film, high tempo practices. I’m excited to get to work immediately.”
Lake, 39, grew up in Newmarket, Ontario and first came to BC in 1994 for what was supposed to be a summer holiday and never left.
Sun President Paul Carson says, “We have completed the most exhaustive search for a coach in Sun history and I think we have found a great new leader for our team going forward.
We are very excited that Gavin will be leading the Suns program. He is a proven winner who understands the importance of developing a program dedicated to excellence on and off the field. He has proven himself at the CFL, CIS and CJFL levels and possesses all the qualities we were searching for this position. I am very excited for our program going forward.”
In 2010, Lake was the offensive assistant coach with the University of Calgary Dinos under Blake Nill. He played a key role in the Dinos’ success as the team reached the Vanier Cup final that season. The following year, the opportunity to travel the world and gain experience came calling in the form of the Thunder head coaching role. With Austria’s rich history and exploding football scene, Lake jumped at the opportunity and has made some lifelong friends.
Lake is also very familiar with the Sun program, coaching against them in 2008 as the head of football operations, offensive assistant and running backs coach for the Vancouver Island Raiders. That season behind running back Andrew Harris, the Raiders would win the Canadian Bowl. “Having coached against the Sun and experience with former players and coaches, I know there is a proud tradition to uphold and in fact, restore. As GM Jay Christensen has stated, having 3 head coaches in 4 seasons is never ideal. Building a powerful, consistent and energetic product will go a long way to regaining former success. We are looking for immediate success,” added Lake
“Coach Lake is exactly what we are looking for to progress the Okanagan Sun both on and off the field,” says Sun General Manager Jay Christensen. “He is a great student of the game with a proven ability to develop coaches and players. He brings with him a wealth of experience at the CIS, BCFC and CFL level, garnering impressive reviews from his previous Head Coaches.”
Prior to his stint in Nanaimo, he was the defensive secondary assistant coach for the CFL’s B.C. Lions in 2007.