After a very successful 2018-19 Men’s Basketball campaign, Cape Breton University’s Department of Athletics has appointed Matt Skinn as Head Coach of their Men’s Basketball program effective immediately.
“Matt has done a tremendous job returning our Men’s Basketball team to be a competitive program within the AUS,” says John Ryan, CBU Director of Athletics. “Through his hard work and the effort by our student-athletes we were able to return to the playoffs and win a playoff game at the Scotiabank Center. This exceeded our expectations in year one and the future is bright under Matt’s leadership and a young core of student athletes to build with in the coming years.”
“It is an honor to be the head men’s basketball coach at my Alma mater. I would like to thank John Ryan for making this possible, and for his passion in guiding the overwhelming success by the Athletic Department. These are exciting times at CBU, under the leadership of President Dingwall, and I am thrilled to be a part of the team” says Skinn. “The highlight of the season was our playoff victory in the AUS playoffs against StFX. However, we understand the level of work that is needed for us to take another step in our conference, and to achieve the level that we aspire to reach. I will continue to work diligently, and push our student-athletes until we become one of the top programs in our conference, and in Canada.”
Skinn, first became involved on the CAPERS men’s basketball program as a player. He suited up for the CAPERS from 1999 until 2003-04 season. After a stint as an assistant coach with Calgary from 2004-2008, Skinn returned to the AUS to become the Head Coach of the St. Francis Xavier X-Women program from 2008-2012. In 2012, Skinn become the Head Coach of CBU winning the AUS Championship and Coach of Year award in his first season, 2012-13. The Ontario native then returned to Calgary as an Assistant Head Coach in 2016 and helped lead the Dinos to the National Championship in 2017-18. Skinn returned to CBU as the interim head coach when the CAPERS men’s job became available. Skinn inherited a team with only three returning players, Osman Omar, Paul Watson and Shacier Locke.
Ryan continues, “Matt is an exceptional young coach with an amazing future ahead of him. He has a great feel for the game from his playing career and does a great job working with today’s student athletes. They play hard and respect him, and with his ability to recruit I feel he can lay the foundation for our Men’s Program to continue to be one that we are all very proud of. Matt also understands that a successful program is not just about winning on the court. We need to win in the classroom and in our communities. I am confident that Matt is the right coach who can help us continue to elevate our Men’s Basketball Program in these areas.”
Skinn guided the CAPERS to 9-11 and fourth place in the AUS standings and a return to the AUS playoffs after a two-year drought. The CAPERS were able to defeat St.FX in the quarterfinals. Skinn brought in a familiar coaching staff, bringing in former assistants Chris Rao, Ron Shaw, Dennis Stapleton and David Ogbuah.
Off the court, with the help of supporter Gary MacLean and his assistants the CAPERS have launched a school program where they visited local elementary schools to speak about healthy living.