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Kendrick out as UPEI Panthers head coach


CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The Tim Kendrick era at UPEI is over.

The university announced Monday it would not be renewing the men’s basketball coach’s contract when it expires on June 30.

What the university didn’t say is why it was letting go the man who finished third or better in each of his first five seasons at UPEI before missing the playoffs this season.

The university issued a statement thanking Kendrick for his time and passion and added it was immediately beginning a search for his replacement.

Kendrick, who preached no one was bigger than the team, compiled a 70-50 record during his Atlantic University Sport (AUS) regular season career.

The Panthers made it to the AUS final in 2016, losing by a basket to the defending champs from Dalhousie.

Forward Bradley States, the team’s co-MVP from 2015-16, decided not to return this season and with Lorenzo Parker out for the first half of the year following knee surgery, the Panthers struggled to a 2-6 start they couldn’t recover from. UPEI ended up seventh with a 6-14 record. The conference’s coaches had predicted in the pre-season poll that UPEI would be sixth.

Athletics director Chris Huggan declined to comment while Kendrick was unable to be reached.

The university announced Monday it would not be renewing the men’s basketball coach’s contract when it expires on June 30.

What the university didn’t say is why it was letting go the man who finished third or better in each of his first five seasons at UPEI before missing the playoffs this season.

The university issued a statement thanking Kendrick for his time and passion and added it was immediately beginning a search for his replacement.

Kendrick, who preached no one was bigger than the team, compiled a 70-50 record during his Atlantic University Sport (AUS) regular season career.

The Panthers made it to the AUS final in 2016, losing by a basket to the defending champs from Dalhousie.

Forward Bradley States, the team’s co-MVP from 2015-16, decided not to return this season and with Lorenzo Parker out for the first half of the year following knee surgery, the Panthers struggled to a 2-6 start they couldn’t recover from. UPEI ended up seventh with a 6-14 record. The conference’s coaches had predicted in the pre-season poll that UPEI would be sixth.

Athletics director Chris Huggan declined to comment while Kendrick was unable to be reached.

UPEI Panthers head coach Tim Kendrick, left, speaks with forward Hugh McLarty during a stoppage in play.

“I feel a guy with a record that speaks for (itself) should be given another opportunity,” all-Canadian Tyler Scott said.

“He’ll find a way to bounce back. He always does. He’s a great coach, and I am sure UPEI and the community will miss him.”

Kendrick took over a program from Matthew Davies, who went 38-62 in five seasons. Mike Connolly and George Morrison were the previous two coaches.

Before coming to UPEI, Kendrick led the powerhouse Horton High School team in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley for 22 years. During that period his team won 700 games and compiled a 73-game unbeaten streak. He was also the bench boss for Nova Scotia squad that finished second at the 2009 Canada Games in Summerside.

RELATED: Click here from the stat sheet from the final.

He played at both Cape Breton University and the Nova Scotia Teachers College.

RELATED: Click here for a story when Kendrick left Horton for UPEI.

Tim Kendrick preached the team was the most important thing during his tenure at UPEI.

Kendrick was able to attract many of his former players to come to Charlottetown, including national rookie of the year Deontay (D.J.) Smith, Ellis Ffrench and Lorenzo Parker.

Scott said he would not have considered UPEI had Kendrick not been coaching.

“Not a chance,” he said, bluntly. “He’s the definition of a player’s coach.”

But, Scott was quick to point out, Kendrick was adept at holding each player accountable, whether they were a starter or a red shirt.

“It was run how a program is supposed to be run in terms of the locker room and dealing with disciplinary action and issues within the team,” said Scott, noting the difficulty social media presents. “I feel like he handled a lot of situations a lot better than a lot of people could.”

Five Panthers completed their university careers this season, including Scott, Dut Dut, Parker, Jake Kendrick and Mark Matheson.

The lack of information around the decision leaves a lot of questions to be answered.

“The first thought that went through my head: was it my fault?” Scott said.

Kendrick, who has worked for three athletic directors in six seasons, had been working to recruit players to the team and said in a blog post about three weeks ago he had seven guys committed.

Charlottetown Rural’s Adam Ryan, Colonel Gray’s Matt Connolly and Halifax forward Vernelle Johnson have announced they will play for UPEI next season. There were others from western Canada and Australia that had committed, but were not announced. The future of those student-athletes appears up in the air.

RELATED: Kendrick loyal to UPEI.

Kendrick was named the Atlantic University Sport coach of the year in 2011-12 becoming only the third Panther to win the award since 1978-79. Morrison won the award in 1995-96 and 1984-85 while Kevin Feighey won in 1978-79.

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