The RDP Kings Basketball team will be looking for a new head coach.
After four years as Red Deer Polytechnic Kings Basketball Head Coach, Darren Graham has decided not to return for the upcoming 2023/2024 season.
Before accepting the job as head coach, Darren Graham spent a few seasons playing basketball for the Kings as a student-athlete. After obtaining his Education degree and spending some time as an assistant coach at Concordia University, Graham returned to Red Deer in 2019 when he accepted the position of head coach of the program he once played for.
During his time with Red Deer Polytechnic, Graham led the Kings to a winning record of 32-26. After a tough 0-4 start this past season, he helped his team regroup and finish the year off strong with a 13-8 record. This put the Kings in the position to fight for the final playoff spot at the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Championship hosted by Ambrose University in Calgary.
Student-athlete and Kings veteran Kevin Szymanek (Business Administration), who has played for all four years of Darren’s coaching tenure, describes Graham as a player-first type of coach.
“There is a story about famous UCLA Men’s Basketball coach John Wooden. During their NCAA dynasty, he swept the floor before every practice, despite being widely regarded as the greatest coach in the game at that time. This describes coach Darren. If there was a task to be done, he would be the first to take it on.
Szymanek had multiple coaches over his long basketball career, but he admits Graham is one of the best coaches he had the chance to play for. “He is one of the most calm, cool and collected coaches. His stoic demeanour always kept the team in a focused mindset when things got out of hand. His solutions and words of wisdom were always well-timed and executed. He always kept an open mind to anything that would help the team succeed and pushed everyone to be the best version of themselves."