NANAIMO — The VI Raiders will have a new head coach for the 2017 season, but he's anything but a newcomer to the program.
Doug Hocking will take over as Raiders head coach after Jerome Erdman accepted a position on the coaching staff at Bishop's University. Hocking has been a part of the Raiders' coaching staff on and off since 2006.
"It's still sinking in," Hocking tells NanaimoNewsNOW. "It's a very exciting time for myself, this program...none of this is possible without the support of my family, my wife and kids."
Hocking joined the Raiders as defensive coordinator in 2006 and promptly helped guide the British Columbia Football Conference team to a national championship, on the back of what became known as the Black Death Defense. In 2007, he served as interim head coach after the team fired Matt Blokker mid-season. After six consecutive seasons in Nanaimo, Hocking went on to have coaching stints with UBC, Langley and Westshore.
Over two seasons with Erdman at the helm the Raiders posted an 11-7-1 record. They failed to win a B.C. championship under his tenure, a far cry from the club's seven provincial titles and three national championships between 2006 and 2013.
Hocking, who rejoined the Raiders as defensive coordinator last season, said the team he is inheriting is well positioned for a quick return to glory.
"We don't need a 180. What this team needs is to take on the complexion and attitude of its coaching staff. This will be a team I will walk down any dark alley with any time of day...that's the Raider way, that's what we want. This team has a lot of young talent."
He said there will be some different coaches coming onto the staff and others taking on new roles and responsibilities. "There's at least one coach that's not going to be back. There's a couple holes to fill, but we're going to fill them with guys that have been here and know how to do things."
Hocking pointed to Karim Maher, a former Raider player and long-time coach, as an "intelligent coach who relates well to the players." He will be asked to do more.
Nanaimo is Hocking's home, he said, considering himself an "Islander." His family, wife Kristin, son Connor, 8, and daughter Mackinley, 6, is rooted here.
"I can't see myself ever leaving. I'm passionate about making sure the football programs and teams in Nanaimo are headed in the right direction and this is an opportunity for me to ensure that with the Raiders."
Raiders vice president of football operations Curtis Hansen thanked Erdman for his service and "professional approach" to the job. He said it is a credit to the Raiders program that university programs are recruiting not only the team's players, but also its coaches.
"I think when you've got a program that works its butt off to propel players to the next level, it's really good to see that our coaches are also acknowledged," Hansen said.
Hansen said Hocking is the "most intense" coach he's ever worked around. "He's a no-nonsense, in your face, let's get down to business football coach. He played that way, he coaches that way...I think the league better get ready because we're bringing back Raiders football the way it was developed in the beginning."
Hocking and his club kick-off spring camp May 5 in Nanaimo.
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