VICTORIA – For the past seven seasons the University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball program has been led by two Craig’s – both of who have a last name that start with “B” and both with matching hair styles. The confusion will come to an end as lead assistant coach Craig Behan announced with mixed emotions that he will be pursuing another career beginning this September. Assistant coach Josh Mullen, who has been with the program for the past three seasons, will be stepping up to take on the full-time role as assistant coach for 2017-18.
Despite being known for his high-level coaching certifications and expertise, Behan is as passionate about his academic side as he is his coaching side. Behan graduated from Lethbridge with a B.A. and B.Ed. and was a tenured professor at Red Deer College. Throughout his time coaching at UVic, Behan completed his Ph.D. and has now accepted a position teaching at a private university in the eastern province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the city of Al-Khobar.
“I’m really looking forward to the experience of a new culture, a new country, new people and also continuing my academic career,” added Behan about the big move. “I spent the first year or two getting familiar with the program and after that, those years were the most memorable because of the levels of success we had in terms of winning and always competing for championships on an annual basis. It was nice to be part of one of the most elite programs in Canada year after year and the players we had were very good, hard working and played well together.”
“The last two years were also very memorable for me because even though we didn’t have the success in terms of wins we worked our tails off as staff – coaching, being with players and bettering ourselves as professionals. This personal challenge of change and promoting inner growth was great for everyone involved, I know wholeheartedly you will see this level of commitment on display this season on the court.”
Behan coached with the Vikes men’s basketball program in 2001-02 and then full time in 2010 until 2017. An NCCP Level 4 and NCI Level 4 Master Coach, Behan has spent the past seven seasons fostering and running the Vikes Basketball Academy providing elite level of instruction to the up-and-coming basketball athletes on Vancouver Island. By virtue of this Behan has been pivotal in the Vikes men’s basketball recruiting efforts including seeing through the impressive careers of standouts such as Jordan Charles, Mack Roth, Reiner Theil, Mike Acheampong, Chris McLaughlin and Terrell Evans.
“We are obviously sad to see Craig leave but we of course wish him all the best in his career pursuits,” said Vikes men’s basketball head coach Craig Beaucamp. “Craig did a great job with us here. He was instrumental in building the Vikes Nation youth basketball programs including overseeing the programs from U12 all the way up to U17 age groups. He started all of that and has been an important part of basketball development in this community.”
“With the Vikes he put in hours and hours for individual player sessions, working with them a lot outside of practice and off the court. He was literally my right-hand guy for the last seven years and he truly was pivotal to the program’s success. We went to the national Final 8 for three-straight years and he was a big part of that. He is definitely going to be missed by all the players and staff.”
Together Beaucamp and Behan qualified the Vikes for the CIS National Championship for three-straight seasons (2013, 2014 and 2015) and won the Canada West Championship in 2015 for the first time since 2006. In Behan’s time, Beaucamp was named Canada West Coach of the Year three, a testament to their joint contributions to the program’s success.
“Craig is great and we go way back where friendship is first and foremost,” said Behan of Beaucamp. “I admire Craig for his insatiable work ethic and focus with the program year in and year out. He is always seeking new ways to improve professionally. One thing that I truly believe that separates Craig outside of his work ethic is that he will take criticism from all angles, I believe this separates him from 90% of the coaches in the country.”
Behan completed his doctorate while coaching full time with the Vikes and sees no better time than the present to put it to work. He is confident he will find his way back to basketball someday but for now will turn over the reins to Mullen for the coming season.
“Josh has been with us for three seasons and three years ago being a full-time Vikes assistant coach was really his wish in terms of his basketball dreams and coaching,” added Beaucamp on the addition of Mullen. “He has been with the team and has familiarity with the program and players so we are excited to have him on board and expect a smooth transition.”
Mullen started with the Vikes in 2015 and in 2017 was a head coach for the Under 16 Vikes Nation boys program and in 2016 led the U17, U16, U15 and U14 programs. Mullen, of Parksville, B.C., was an assistant coach in 2010-11 for Kitsilano Secondary and a head coach at Mulgrave School in 2011-15 prior to coming to UVic.
“I’m most excited about being around the guys on a full-time basis,” said Mullen about the recent appointment. “To get the opportunity to spend more time with the players and the coaching staff both on and off the court will allow me to increase my contributions to the group. It’s a privilege to be a part of a program with such a tradition of excellence. Being a part of Coach Beaucamp’s staff allows me to learn on a daily basis from the methods he has used to have sustained success. These experiences are key in my overall development as a coach.”
Vikes Athletics and Recreation are grateful for the contributions of coach Behan for the past seven years both in his coaching efforts at the varsity level but also his overall leadership in varsity recruitment and youth development programming.