UW athletics ended a six-week search for the next leader of the men's basketball team when they officially announced and introduced newly hired rookie head coach Justin Gunter June 16 at a press conference at the PAC.</p>
“We were really looking for somebody who can build a program that embodies the culture that the University of Waterloo has,” associate athletic director Christine Stapleton said at the press conference. “A culture where academic excellence, high athletic achievement, integrity, and community involvement are the pillars of the program. We believe we have found that with [head coach Gunter].”
The new head coach said that while everybody is starting with a clean slate, he is going to emphasize “honesty,” “accountability,” and “hard work.”
Gunter, who has never been a head coach at the OUA/CIS level, will be replacing the man who won the coaching job over him three years ago — former head coach Greg Francis — who left UW to join the Canadian national basketball program as their men’s high performance manager.
Gunter will hope to build on Francis’ tenured legacy, where the Warriors overall record was 17-46 in a powerhouse OUA division that features the Ottawa Gee-Gees, Ryerson Rams, Lakehead Thunderwolves, and the five-time defending CIS champions Carleton Ravens.
Although Francis’ tenure did not result in more wins and any playoff appearances, he improved and built a strong foundation in both team culture and player recruitment. Stapleton and Roly Webster, director of UW athletics, believe that even though Gunter doesn’t hold the same type of name recognition as Francis, he will be able to establish a local network in the KW and GTA region, and build on the program’s current player recruitment infrastructure.
“Justin has a proven track record of identifying and recruiting highly competitive student athletes who are committed to excellence in their athletic, their academic, and their personal pursuits,” Stapleton said.