As Canada Basketball moves towards an intriguing future, it has turned to its past.
As expected, Jay Triano was named head coach of the senior men’s program on Thursday, his second go-around at the position after previous management bungled his dismissal in 2005.
His replacement, Leo Rautins, resigned last summer and it was quickly clear that Triano was the organization’s top choice to take over, especially if Steve Nash agreed to come on board as well.
In fact, Nash said on Thursday that the hiring of Triano was a requirement of his doing so.
"I know that Jay is the right man for this job” Nash said. “He is a confirmed and respected leader in the basketball community and he has the experience and knowledge to lead us towards our goal of becoming one of the leading basketball nations.”
Nash signed on to become Canada’s general manager and his assistant is Rowan Barrett.
Triano coached that star backcourt for years, most notably during Canada’s most recent high water men’s hoops moment – the impressive run at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where the team lost just once, albeit at the wrong time (in an elimination game).
Triano said leading that group was the highlight of his career, one that includes making three Olympics as a player and coaching in the NBA.
CEO Wayne Parrish told the Toronto Sun last November “Jay is is an awfully attractive candidate to be head coach of this team if that’s something in (his) interest.”
But first Triano had to complete his commitment to USA Basketball where he became the first non-American to sit on the senior team’s bench at the 2010 worlds and also worked with the select team of up-and-coming stars.
Triano, a Niagara Falls native, is one of the best players Canada has ever produced, and along with Rautins, helped the country compete head to head against the likes of Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and Drazen Petrovic.
Triano recently left the Raptors, where he previously served as head and assistant coach as well as head of pro scouting, for an assistant coaching job with the Portland Trail Blazers under Terry Stotts.
Joining Triano on the Canadian bench will be Houston Rockets assistant coach Kelvin Sampson, Carleton Ravens uber-successful head man Dave Smart and Waterloo Warriors bench boss Greg Francis.