Print Edition: January 28, 2015
Adam Friesen ascended to the position of men’s basketball’s head coach at UFV on a permanent basis at the beginning of last year. It was the culmination of a long record-breaking Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) career, record-breaking high school performances, and finally being equal with his father, Al Friesen — himself an Abbotsford basketball coaching legend.
Coach Adam Friesen was born in Winnipeg, where he lived until he moved to BC the summer before grade 11. His dad got the opportunity to coach at Yale in Abbotsford. Later, they would be partly responsible for transforming Yale to the powerhouse of BC high school basketball for the better part of the decade.
It wasn’t long before Friesen made a name for himself on his own at Yale, scoring 61 points in a single game — a school record that was only broken two months ago.
“It was good,” he reflected on his early experiences playing at Yale. “I played for my dad. It wasn’t my first year playing for him. I played for him in grade 10 in Winnipeg — he was my coach already so I kind of knew what to expect that way. The program had to grow, and it was a good challenge to take on something like that.”
Friesen won the Fraser Valley regional championships in grade 12, along with a berth at the provincial tournament. He was starting to make a real name for himself as a player, and drawing the eyes of some lower-tier CIS schools. His split CIS career started at the school that would become his cross-town rival when he became a head coach — Trinity Western University.
His experience at Trinity, while a bit rocky at points, is marked by his consistency on the court. In the 2004-2005 season, he registered the second highest minutes-per-game mark in Canada West history for the Spartans, when he played a whopping 37-and-a-half minutes per game. He is also one of three players in Canada West history to play 50 minutes in a single game, which he did as a member of the Spartans in 2005. Friesen’s university career would also see him play at UBC for the 2006-2007 season.
His path to coaching the Cascades was relatively easy after making a mark on local collegiate basketball.
He also reflected on his relationship with former UFV head coach Barnaby Craddock, and his time as assistant coach.
“Once I finished playing, I was fortunate enough to get on the coaching staff here with Barnaby Craddock, and was the assistant coach for five years, I believe. I got to see how to build and run a program. The opportunity came up to run the program here. All the lessons I learned there [as an assistant coach] prepared me well.”
For Friesen, after a lengthy collegiate career and five years as an assistant coach, the call finally came in the summer of 2013 for him to become the head coach of his own CIS program with an already wide array of talent.
“I was very fortunate — it was something that I was very interested in doing, and there were not many jobs, not a lot of schools around the country, so the fact that I was able to find a situation here at home was a blessing,” said Friesen.
It was finally his opportunity to show the local basketball fanatics that, just like his father, a provincial championship winner at the high school level, Friesen could coach basketball, and do it well.