He may not be ‘Iron Man’ Stark, but he boasts several qualities that could be compared to a superhero.
Dennis Stark lit fire under the belly of UNBC men’s basketball right up until the program transitioned to Canada’s highest level of college sports and aided the team to the school’s first-ever national championship in 2010.
Earning the nickname ‘Mr. Timberwolf’ by virtue of his competitive nature and quick instincts, the Prince George product has been named today (April 2) the final inductee of the inaugural class for the T-Wolves’ Wall of Honour.
The call also makes Stark one of two UNBC alumni to go up on the wall twice in addition to the 2010 CCAA banner squad, alongside Inderbir Gill who was the first to be inducted.
Stark made basketball look easy, according to Daniel Stark, who got to play with his brother for two seasons while the team was cruising to winning records and provincial titles.
This included five consecutive 100-point seasons!
“The way he ran the floor, was in the right position, played above the rim, and got rebounds and buckets alike,” Daniel said.
“But Dennis became an ambassador for the program. He was the first to embrace the rookies, he handled media and outreach programs like a professional. Even his opponents liked him. He made a positive imprint on everyone he came in contact with. He loved Prince George, and he loved the program. Dennis is the embodiment of Timberwolves culture.”
Size, strength and speed were Stark’s go-to’s when competing in green and gold on the court, some even ending up in two-handed slam dunks, just for a little added showmanship.
His dedication to the Timberwolves program made him one of the first recipients of the Zane Robison Award in 2012, which is handed out to the athlete that exemplifies the same dedication as the founding father of UNBC Athletics.
Fortunately, Robison also recruited Stark out of then-Kelly Road Secondary School and coached his 2008 rookie season.
“Dennis had the character and demeanour that was truly a positive reflection of his family and the community that raised him,” said Robison.
“From day one, there was no doubt that Prince George was proud to call him one of their own.”
Stark earned Academic All-Canadian status in that first year, which was the beginning of a number of accolades for the six-foot-five forward.
He and his teammates rallied in his sophomore campaign to a 12-6 record and a bronze-medal finish at BCCAA provincials, but then all the stars aligned in the following year on that 2010 glory road.
Stark started in every game in the 17-1 regular season, as well as the B.C. provincial and Canadian national championships, winning both banners while averaging 9.2 points and 4.3 rebounds along the way.
His popularity among fans also grew that season by way of his drive to play wholeheartedly.
“His character, personality and team-first attitude were crucial and integral parts of the success of our group,” said former head coach Mike Raimbault.
“He was a tremendous athlete who was fully invested in playing his role to the best of his ability. All in the pursuit of team success. He was fully invested in doing what it took to help the team win. A truly special person to be around.”
Stark went out a champion in his final season, 2011-12, in leading UNBC to its second B.C. championship in two years and third straight provincial final appearance.
Current coach Todd Jordan believes Stark was one of a few players that made the Timberwolves a ‘National Championship threat’ each year.
“He made such an impact on the court with his scoring, rebounding, and defense,” said Jordan.
“He was extremely gifted. I remember him taking the roof off the Northern Sport Centre with explosive dunks on many occasions. He was a culture-setter.”
‘Mr. Timberwolf’ was a two-time all-star and was named UNBC’s men’s basketball Best Defensive Player in 2009.
In the program’s record books, Stark is second in all-time rebounds with 461, first among BCCAA athletes, and 10th with 779 all-time points, fourth from the BCCAA-era.
He remains in Prince George with his wife Rhea and works as UNBC’s Director of Student Recruitment.
This completes the first inductions into the UNBC T-Wolves’ Wall of Honour, with more anticipated in the years to come.
Footnotes about the inaugural list include 14 individual athlete nods, eight men, six women and one team; nine are related to basketball and six are with soccer.
There are also four Prince George born-and-raised athletes inducted; Stark, Madison Emmond, Scott Debianchi and Mercedes VanKoughnett.
The Wall of Honour is set to be displayed in the Northern Sport Centre and will also be available online via UNBC’s website.
The complete class is as follows (in order of announcements):
- Inderbir Gill (men’s basketball)
- Tofa Fakunle (men’s soccer)
- Mercedes VanKoughnett (women’s basketball)
- Sidney Roy (women’s soccer)
- Jay Gladish (men’s basketball)
- Jaclyn Nazareno (women’s basketball)
- Scott Debianchi (men’s soccer)
- 2010 Men’s Basketball Team (UNBC Athletics)
- Vasiliki Louka (women's basketball)
- Zane Robison (UNBC Athletics)
- Franco Kouagnia (men's basketball)
- Madison Emmond (women's soccer)
- Lindsay Anderson (women's basketball)
- Gordon Hall (men’s soccer)
- Dennis Stark (men's basketball)