The University of Redlands (Redlands, California) and Bulldog Athletics have announced the hiring of Eric Bridgeland (MBHOF Class of '07) as the next head men's basketball coach. Bridgeland follows Jim Ducey, who retired after a 29-year career with the Bulldogs.
"Our family would like to thank President Kuncl, University Dean Eddleman, and especially Jeff Martinez for all their work on our behalf to make this a reality!" Bridgeland said. "We've known Redlands as a special place that has servant-based leadership at its core that spreads through the surrounding community. Our family is very humbled, honored, and excited to add value to the Bulldog family."
Bridgeland arrives at Redlands as an esteemed NCAA Division III coach from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, where he led the Blues to three Northwest Conference (NWC) titles and six runner-up finishes. During the last five years, Whitman has qualified for the NCAA tournament each season and advanced to the Sweet-16, Elite-8, and Final Four. His 2019 seniors graduated as the winningest class in NCAA Division III history, as they contributed to three undefeated titles in NWC action and a 67-conference game win streak.
In 12 seasons at Whitman, Bridgeland boasts an impressive record of 245-87 (.738) and an NWC mark of 132-44 (.750%). In addition, he owns multiple national, regional, and conference coach of the year awards. His teams consistently land among the national rankings, as highlighted by the No. 1 spot on the D3hoops.com poll late in the 2017 season.
Prior to coaching at Whitman, he served as the head coach at the University of Puget Sound (WA) for five seasons. After taking over a program that had one winning season in the previous nine, Bridgeland and the Loggers put together a stretch of three consecutive NWC titles, three NCAA appearances, and a No. 8 ranking.
Overall, Bridgeland has coached one national player of the year, 12 All-Americans, six conference MVPs, and 40 all-conference selections. He also sent another student-athlete to the NBA combine as one of only five Division III players to be invited in the history of the league.
Outside of coaching, Bridgeland has gained experience with various NCAA basketball committees and organizations. Furthermore, he makes it a priority to serve his community through local non-profits like Friends of Children Walla Walla, Christian Aide Center, YMCA, and more.
His outreach also has resulted in impressive fundraising success through leadership camps, basketball clinics, golf tournaments, and general campaigning.
"Coach Bridgeland's teams are not only successful on the court but they have a demonstrated history of embracing the DIII philosophy of strong academic performance and a commitment to community service. All of those factors, along with a very impressive track record of successful fundraising efforts, make him a great fit for Bulldog Athletics and the University of Redlands," commented Director of Athletics Jeff Martinez.
Eric played four years at the University of Manitoba and was a 3-time All-Canadian. He was one of the top scorers in Bison history and also played with Canada’s National Team and the Winnipeg Thunder. He was inducted into the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.