Mohawk Mountaineers’ winningest coach retires after 18 years
Published March 10, 2023 at 12:32 pm
Brian Jonker, who guided the Mohawk Mountaineers to the peak of Canadian college basketball, is retiring from his head coaching post.
Mohawk announced today (March 10) that Jonker is officially moving on after being part of the Hamilton hoops team in four different decades, first as an all-star player before becoming a coach. All told, Jonker earned 312 coaching wins, including 180 in the regular season, which is a school record across all sports. The Mountaineers also won the Canadian (CCAA) title in 2012.
In a release, Jonker said the interaction between players and fellow coaches is what he cherishes about his tenure at Mohawk.
“I don’t think anyone has success without building relationships and the ones I have forged over the course of my 27 years are the most special thing about coaching,” said Jonker, who was also a high school coach with the Brantford Assumption Lions for nine seasons. “To be able to see people go from young men to fathers and successful members of the community is special.”
The Mountaineers’ Canadian (CCAA) title in 2012 was also a realization of a promise he made to his wife, Stacey Jonker, upon going for the job. They met while both were playing basketball at Mohawk.
“When I told my wife the job was open at Mohawk I told her I wanted to go win a national championship at our alma mater,” Jonker stated. “Looking back that may have been an ambitious goal but we were fortunate to accomplish it.”
The coach’s court CV at Mohawk also includes two Ontario conference (OCAA) championships, five OCAA medals, and three trips to the national championship. Jonker is also a two-time OCAA West coach of the year.
The Mountaineers are making a wholesale change of the coaching staff, with Jonker and assistants Mac Akrong, Colin Bailey, Dan Jonker, and Mike Woodburn going out together. Their support of the players this season contributed to a 14-4 regular-season record and an OCAA bronze medal. Mohawk led OCAA in points per game and Stefan Anisko, Daniel Graham, and Jerry Mercury were the only teammate trio to all rank in the top-10 in scoring.
“This was the perfect team to finish my career,” Jonker said. “I have never had a group one through 13 that cared about each other, were as coachable, took ownership of the team and solved issues like this one did.”
The women’s basketball Mountaineers, meantime, are hosting the CCAA championship from March 15 to 18. Ticket and schedule information is available at mohawkmountaineers.com.
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