Former UAF basketball coach Al Sokaitis on Monday was named head coach of the newly announced expansion ABA Alaska Dream team scheduled to begin play in December.
"We are so excited to have Al with us," team owner Trey Davis said in a press release. "He ... has a tremendous background with a great winning record. We will build a team that Alaska can be proud of."
Sokaitis, 56, recently was among five finalists for the UAF head women's basketball coaching job. He guided the Nanooks men for eight seasons (1996-2004). His 108-111 coaching record includes a 43-15 mark in his last two seasons, when Alaska earned back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Division II Tournament for the first time in the program's history.
One of the biggest highlights of his tenure was a victory over Weber State in the final of the 2002 Top of the World Classic at the Carlson Center, marking the first time in NCAA men's basketball history that a Division II team captured the championship of an eight-team Division I tournament.
He didn't leave UAF on good terms when he resigned in April 2004, citing communication problems with then athletic director Corey Schwartz.
Sokaitis is co-director of the Challenge Life Youth Foundation, an effort that focuses on bringing programs of mental and physical wellness to communities throughout Alaska with a concentration on the Arctic region.
"I am very excited to be a part of this great Alaska Dream organization," he said in a press release. "We are going to work hard to make this organization and this team one of the best ABA operations ever. We are ready."