Family circumstances and a career opportunity he can’t turn down are the reasons why Doug Plumb has stepped down as head coach of the St. John’s Edge, with two games remaining in the regular season and playoffs around the corner.
The timing of the announcement Tuesday, that Plumb has walked away as Edge coach and Steve Marcus replaces him for the remainder of the season, is odd, to say the least.
St. John’s, once winners of 11 of 12 games, have slumped of late, dropping three of their last four games as the team struggles to nail down a playoff berth.
Tuesday evening, the 30-year-old Plumb, a Vancouver native, confirmed he is returning to British Columbia to be with his ailing father, who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease. As well, Plumb said, he’s returning home to tend to his business, Academy Basketball.
“I feel sick about it in terms of the timing." — Doug Plumb
And speaking of business, the former University of British Columbia player said he has an opportunity waiting at home, one that he can’t turn down.
“I feel sick about it in terms of the timing,” he said of his departure from the Edge.
“But my Dad’s Parkinson’s is progressing quickly, and I want to be with him. He’s my hero, my biggest advocate.
“And given the amount of energy I’ve put into the team, I’ve neglected certain things at home. With some real good opportunities coming up, I would have shot myself in the foot had I not acted on them.”
Plumb’s Vancouver-based Academy Basketball, which he co-founded with friend Mark Starkey, the former Nike brand director for North America, has become a going concern with a state-of-the-art facility planned.
Through Starkey, Plumb met Chris Brickley, trainer to the NBA stars, and has been in the gym with Brickley helping train the likes of Carmelo Anthony.
For the past couple of summers, he's helped former NBA star Carlos Boozer run his camp in Alaska.
Plumb joined the Edge last season as an assistant to Jeff Dunlap.
When Dunlap wasn’t renewed this season — he later landed an assistant coaching job with the Cal State-Northridge NCAA team — Plumb was hired as head coach.
Plumb is the latest to leave the Edge in what has become somewhat of a revolving door to the team’s dressing room.
So far this season, 25 players have appeared in at least one game for the Edge. Of the 10 players who dressed for the team’s season-opening game Nov. 18 in London, Ont., only four remain — Junior Cadougan, Dez Lee, Jared Nickens and Satnam Singh.
In a pre-season interview with The Telegram, Plumb expressed his excitement about taking over as a head coach in the NBL Canada (prior to arriving in St. John’s, he served as an assistant to Kyle Julius with the NBL’s London Lightning in 2016-17).
“I'm a workaholic by nature,” he said in November. “It's been fun ... a blast.
“I was with my girlfriend last year, and she'll kill me for saying this, but I'm alone this year and being at the gym all day is the best. There's nothing better.
“This is almost a dream job.”
Following his playing days at UBC, Plumb toiled professionally for a couple of years in Hungary and Romania.
Marcus also served as an assistant last season, brought in by Dunlap after working as a graduate assistant at North Carolina State when Dunlap served as director of basketball operations at the university.
Before landing in Raleigh, N.C., the Springfield, Mass., native worked in basketball operations with the NBA G-League’s Maine Red Claws.