Young Falcons are stepping up their game as head coach retires

Langara men's basketball team head coach, Paul Eberhardt, retires from post-secondary level coaching after spending almost a decade with the Falcons.

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By EMMA SHULAR 

The Falcons men’s basketball team is bracing for a shake up in the team roster and coaching staff, and the players are ready to step up to fill some big shoes.

After taking a one-year sabbatical from coaching, Paul Eberhardt decided in March to retire for good, ending a nine-season run as the team’s head coach. In addition to the coach’s retirement, top players like Royce Sargaent and Moeiz Athaya are also expected to graduate this semester.

Interim coach Joey Dhillon, who replaced Eberhardt this past year, has said he won’t be returning for the 2023-24 season.

First-year students Owen Jones and Jacob Francia, who both play guard for the Falcons, said starting at the same time as the new interim coach this year helped them to mature by taking on more responsibility on and off the court. 

“It was really good for us because as a first-year here, it helped us develop into . . . the new environment we were put into,” Francia said. Jones said that it gave them more accountability and that they “had to act more like adults.”

Francia said everyone on the team will have to adjust to the new roster and the way the new coach operates. 

“He’ll definitely have his differences from Joey and what we’re used to,” Francia said.

Jones said many of the senior players on the team are leaving this year, so he will have to take on more responsibility.

“We’re going to really have to step up and be leaders, which might be difficult just because we’re still young,” he said. “But that’s definitely going to have to be a priority.”

Looking for a new coach

At the time of his retirement, Eberhardt had a record of 132-68 and had been named the CCAA Coach of the Year in 2013. 

Sean Shook, manager of athletics and campus recreation at Langara, said more than 20 people have applied for the position. He said they received more applications than expected.

“[We] actually got a fairly decent amount of applicants and what I feel is a very deep candidate pool,” Shook said.

Director of student engagement and athletics Jake McCallum said the head coach position opened for application at the end of March. He said all applicants will go through a vetting process before the coach is chosen.  

“It’s always challenging to find a good coach,” McCallum said. 

McCallum said when choosing a new coach, it is crucial to take their past coaching experience, coaching style and relationship with the college into account.

“Last year when Joey stepped in, it was a continuation of fairly the same system,” he said. “But players adapt and play. They’re used to changing coaches.”

Shook said he does not expect the retirement of Eberhardt to affect the team much.

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