Logan Stutz is young, driven and really, really tall. He’s also the inaugural head coach and general manager of the Sudbury Five, the Nickel City’s first professional basketball team, which starts playing in November.
Stutz was introduced this morning at a press conference at Sudbury Arena, a press conference that began, fittingly enough, at 11:05 a.m.
The 6-9 recently retired ball player comes to Sudbury most recently following a stint with 3D Global Sports, a basketball program based out of Toronto that competes at international tournaments.
Stutz, 30, hales from Blue Springs, Missouri and played college ball at Butler County Community College in El Dorado, Kansas for a season, before transiting to NCAA Division II ball at Washburn Univerity in Topeka.
His pro career took him to Germany and Sweden, before coming back to this side of the pond to play for both the Niagara River Lions and the Windsor Express, both of the National Basketball League of Canada, playing both centre and power forward positions.
Stutz was named the NBL Canada MVP in 2015-16 and captained both the Niagara River Lions and Express during his time with the teams.
Married with two children, one of whom was born in Canada, Stutz promised Sudbury would soon be seeing some exciting basketball being played here.
“I’m extremely excited to be part of the Northern Ontario community and Sudbury,” he said at the press conference. “We’re going to give Sudbury a basketball team they can fall in love with — it’s going to be exciting.”
Team owner Dario Zulich, who reminded those in attendance that he played varsity ball for Western University “four-score and 50 pounds ago,” said it won’t be long before Sudbury will be watching a hometown, professional team.
"We said we would bring professional basketball to Sudbury and here we are. It’s real and it’s about to start,” Zulich said.
Bob Johnston, the vice president of basketball operation for SWSE, the body that owns the Five, the Sudbury Spartans and the Sudbury Wolves, joked that his diminutive stature means he never played basketball as he introduced Stutz.
He said there was a great deal of interest in the head coach’s job, calling the hiring process “intense.” Originally, he said, Stutz was not the hiring team’s first choice.
“Logan is young … and that gave us initial concern, but … his strengths as a player and a person started removing any doubts we had,” Johnston said.
With a head coach and GM in place, Johnston has set an ambitious goal for the Five.
“We’re going to become a flagship team of the National Basketball League of Canada in a three-year window,” Johnston predicted. “The media and the community will be blown away at the talent we’re looking at.”
Andrew Dale, the VP of marketing and development with SWSE, said not only is the team a good addition to the entertainment landscape in Sudbury, the Five will serve as a brand ambassador for the Nickel City as they travel the roads in Ontario, Quebec and the East Coast during the basketball season.