When the men’s basketball coaching position opened up at Point Loma Nazarene last week, it wasn’t long before Matt Logie was speaking to the Division II program’s athletic director.
On Monday, he visited San Diego to interview. On Thursday morning, it was made official: Logie, with 194 wins in his eight years at Whitworth, is now the new basketball coach at Point Loma Nazarene.
“I felt the alignment between who I am and the background my coaching journey has taken aligns so well with (athletic director Ethan Hamilton’s) vision for the program and the institution,” Logie said. “I just really felt led to take on the opportunity.”
Logie’s departure from Whitworth meant that Damion Jablonski was promoted from assistant to head coach of the Pirates, part of a succession plan that had been in place should Logie leave, Jablonski said.
“We’d had those discussions internally, so I had known for a while that athletic director Tim Demant and President Beck Taylor were in line with me taking over,” the 41-year-old Jablonski said. “It is not just exciting for me. There’s this sense of peace in this transition because I know that it’s the right thing for all of us involved.”
Jablonski will be the fourth head coach at Whitworth since 1985, following Logie (hired in 2011), Jim Hayford (2001) and Warren Friedrichs (1985).
Logie takes over for Ryan Looney, the Central Valley High School graduate who left Point Loma Nazarene to become Idaho State’s head coach last week.
Logie and Jablonski met with the team on Wednesday afternoon and told them about the changes. Both coaches said players were disappointed but supportive.
“We have such great guys, such high-character guys,” Jablonski said. “It naturally was going to be a bit of a shock, hearing the news, but our guys are resilient guys and positive.”
Logie is taking over a Point Loma program that lost in the Division II championship game last season, finishing 31-5 overall.
He is leaving a Whitworth program that hasn’t lost more than seven games in a season since 2004-05 and has played in 12 of the last 13 NCAA Division III Tournaments.
Neither coach is heading into a program rebuild.
Jablonski has been an assistant at Whitworth for eight years, following a one-year stint with Logie at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.
“I think it should be a huge advantage. I already have the familiarity with the players and their capabilities but also the culture in place, because I was part of establishing that culture,” Jablonski said. “All these kids are young men I had a part in recruiting, so the relationships we have are already strong.”
Logie finished his eight years at Whitworth 194-35 overall, a winning percentage (.847) that is the best among all active NCAA coaches in any division. He guided the Pirates to six Northwest Conference regular-season titles and seven conference tournament championships.
A native of Mercer Island, Washington, Logie was previously an assistant coach at Lehigh University for eight years and at Kent State for one.
The hardest part about leaving is parting with those he has come to know so well in Spokane, Logie said.
“That’s absolutely 1,000 percent the hardest thing about this decision. We love so many people here, and change is always difficult, but the way that God opened these doors for us, (we) really felt led to this opportunity and challenge,” he said. “I know that they all understand that. I know our relationships aren’t going anywhere, they’re just changing a little bit.”
Jablonski grew up in Polson, Montana, next to Flathead Lake. He earned a mechanical engineering degree from Gonzaga in 2000 and worked for Ford Motor Co. for seven years before shifting to a career in coaching.
Before joining Logie at Lehigh in 2010, Jablonski was an assistant coach for three seasons at Oakland University in Michigan.
“Even though I will miss seeing (Logie) every day,” Jablonski said, “I am at peace with it because it’s the right thing for both of us.”
Local journalism is essential.
The journalists of The Spokesman-Review are a part of the community. They live here. They work here. They care. You can help keep local journalism strong right now with your contribution. Thank you.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.