Antigonish, NS – StFX Director of Athletics & Recreation Leo MacPherson is very pleased to announce a variety of initiatives to honour long time men's basketball head coach Steve Konchalski (Coach K) throughout the entire month of March. Coach K is set to retire as of March 31st after 46 years of service.
"X-Men Basketball wouldn't be what it is today without his presence, his influence and everything he did for our sport and university," notes MacPherson on the longest serving coach ever at the university. "Often the word legend is used with little thought, but in the case of Steve Konchalski, it seems inadequate to describe his wonderful contributions at StFX for the past 46 years."
Every day throughout the month of March, StFX Athletics will release a congratulatory message from an X-Men Basketball alumnus or featured guest on its social media channels. Fans can watch for the videos at noon time daily on Instagram @stfx_athletics, Facebook and/or Twitter @StFXAthletics. Alumni, fans and friends can send their own personal greetings to Coach K to congratulate him on his upcoming retirement by sending in their own personal video, and/or by writing a message on our virtual wall. Instructions on how to complete each activity can be found at www.goxgo.ca/coachk and fans are encouraged to use the hashtag #ThanksCoachK.
On Thursday, March 4th, as part of their ongoing X Connects series, the StFX Alumni Association will be hosting 'X Connects with Coach K'. Current student-athlete Bailey Wasdal will sit down with Coach K to discuss his 46 year coaching career. The event takes place at 8:00 pm AST online with Zoom with pre-registration available at http://alumni.stfx.ca/xconnects.
StFX Athletics will be hosting an exhibition men's basketball game versus the Acadia Axemen on Saturday, March 6th at 7:30 pm AST at the StFX Amelia Saputo Centre. The game will be the one and only of the 2020-21 season and will mark Coach K's 1495th and final career game behind the bench. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a limited number of spectators (by invitation only) will be permitted inside the gymnasium. Fans, alumni and supporters can tune in to a live webcast of the game on www.3sixty.live. There will be post-game presentations streamed via the webcast immediately following the game.
The game will mark the inaugural presentation of the Coach K Challenge trophy. Moving forward, the 'Coach K Challenge' will feature one game between the Acadia Axemen and StFX X-Men on an annual basis. Konchalski played for the Acadia Axemen, leading them to four conference titles and a national championship title in 1965 where he was chosen tournament MVP.
"Acadia University is honored to participate in Coach K's final game on the court named after him," comments Kevin Dickie, the Executive Director of Athletics & Destination Acadia. "Steve is a national champion, hall of fame inductee and legend at Acadia. He was one of the early athletes that helped put our Axemen program on the national map."
Steve Konchalski is one of the longest serving U SPORTS head coaches across all sports. During his time at StFX he has won three national championships and nine AUS conference championships. The 2001 U SPORTS Coach of the Year, he has also been honoured on six occasions as AUS Coach of the Year. Coach K currently has 918 career wins (regular season, playoffs & non-conference) with .614 career win percentage. He had led the X-Men to 18 U SPORTS championship appearances and 42 AUS playoff appearances.
In addition to his head coaching duties at X, Coach K served as the head coach of Team Canada for four years (1995-98) and was an assistant coach for 16 years prior. Coaching in three Olympic Games, Konchalski has been a member of Canada Basketball's Counsel of Excellence since 2009. He was a member of coaching staff of the Canadian U19 team that won the 2017 World Championship in Cairo, Egypt.
Coach K has been inducted into four Sports Hall of Fame: Acadia, StFX, Nova Scotia & Canadian Basketball, and this past fall was inducted into the Dalhousie Bertha Wilson Honour Society. The 2010 recipient of the CIS Jean-Marie De Koninck Coaching Excellence Award, he was also the inaugural recipient of the Frank Baldwin Memorial Award in 1999 for dedication to basketball in Nova Scotia.
Coaching awards and accolades aside, Steve Konchalski is known for his genuine caring nature for his student-athletes and regularly keeps in touch with many of them upon graduation. Leo MacPherson comments, "His impact on the lives of student-athletes did not end when we left the StFX campus, as he was a trusted, valuable advisor and a friend for life. All of his former players, myself included, benefited greatly from his teachings not only in basketball, but in positively impacting our lives beyond the sport."
Complete details on all activities and initiatives honouring Coach K can be found at www.goxgo.ca/coachk.