““It’s not just coming in and you already have a team in place and you coach it. “

There was an article in today’s Metro (I think it’s the first since the day after the season ended) in which Andre Levingston talks about his expectations of the role of coach for next year.  He says that the coach will have to be more involved in scouting and selecting the players for the team.  Which I think is a very, very good thing and a step in the right direction.  On the downside, lots of involvement may reduce the chances of Berry returning.  If you look at what he said after the season ended as well as his body language in the finals weeks of the season you’ve got to think that the odds are that he’s not coming back.  Here are my picks for who the Rainmen should pursue to coach the team next year in no particular order:

Les Berry: The Rainmen got noticably better defensively under him and his offense would work if he had a pre-season training camp to actually put it in place.  He’s a local guy and the players seemed to like him.  If you can bring back a quality coach you need to do it for numerous reasons.

Jan van Breda Kolff: The current coach of the Nashville Broncs in the ABA.  He’s spent a lot of time in the NCAA DI ranks coaching Cornell, Vanderbilt, St. Bonaventure and Pepperdine.  He got embroiled in an eligibility scandal which was not his fault in 2003 and has bounced around a number of assistant coaching gigs before landing with the Broncs.  He has the pedigree and the experience (he played briefly in the NBA in addition to his coaching credentials) and he seems very unhappy with the Nashville situation.  If he’s going to be in the minors you’ve got to think he’d want to be with a team with full-time players.

Paul Afif: He coached the Dallas PBL team and the ABA’s Texas Tycoons last year and he has a keen eye for talent.  He was supposed to be coaching Buffalo’s PBL entry this year but he just sort of disapeared.  He’s a young guy with lots of coaching upside who seems to know what he’s doing.  He has an excellent reputation and success at this level both in the wins column and in the quest to get guys to “the next level.”

I think Tim Kendricks should also get a look, and they should at least consider offering Strick an assistant coaching position.  That guy can’t play forever and he’s loved by teammates and fans.

The article also mentions that both Eric and Tyronne McNeal will be in Halifax for the summer working on the Rainmen camps.  It’s good to know that both guys are still with the organization and after his flashes of potential at the end of the season I really want McNeal back.  Eric would have been staying in shape and playing summer ball no matter what, but this allows the team to make sure McNeal continues making progress over the summer.

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6 thoughts on “““It’s not just coming in and you already have a team in place and you coach it. “

  1. *sigh* I don’t think McNeal is good enough, or ever will be *sigh*

    As to the out-of-towner potential coaches, great picks–and not to harp on this, but do you think these guys would ever come here on essentially a five month contract (November–March)? Won’t they get better offers?

    Isn’t Berry the logical pick since he is very much already here and is more likely to be content with a short contract?

  2. re: McNeal – guys who are 6’10” or taller who can ball get contracts in Europe unless they’re recovering from injury, want to stay in a specific area (which puts Halifax at a disadvantage) or have some sort of other issue which is keeping them in NA. I am not convinced that we’re ever going to see McNeal average 25/10 with a pair of blocks, but I think it’s realistic to see him in the rotation next year.

    re: Coaching options – I definitely agree that Les Berry should be the first choice if he’s willing to take the job. I think some minor league coaches take short term jobs for the same reason that players do: they want to get to “the next level” and this is the only major option. I think Halifax should really try to extend the contract length by having the coach more involved in things like camps, PR, and even office work like marketing. Obviously the earlier coaches are looking for players the better the team will be, as well. They really need to try to offer a package which allows them to draw the best possible coaches. Afif was a minor league/lesser european league player so he knows how it works, and he coached in the ABA a couple seasons ago, and Breda Kolff is in a tragic Norman Dale-esque situation, and just coached in the ABA on a team where most guys had day jobs, so Halifax would be a step up for him. But I think Tennesse is his home state so moving to Halifax for a period may not be in his plans.

    So I do think guys would come to Halifax if the offer was right, but I do think that Halifax have tons of hurdles in the way when it comes to getting players and coaches when compared to teams in better geographic situations. So while I think my out of town suggests are possible, I do agree with you that they’re probably unlikely.

  3. Gotta be honest – I’m not sure, Chris, why you consistently mention Tim K as a candidate for this job. Being very successful at Horton High School is one thing but coaching pro athletes is a completely different animal. After the RL fiasco, the Rainmen should restrict possible new head coaches to those who have pro experience (Les now fits in this category and, yes, I know he didn’t have pro experience when he was first hired but he is the exception, IMHO, not the rule). We have all seen the problems great US college coaches have had adjusting to the NBA (see Calipari, Carlesimo, Floyd etc).

  4. The players need a coach they can respect. a local high school coach won’t get the respect of former NCAA stars, or current minor league stars. Strickland would be a better choice than the Horton coach.

  5. The more I think about it the more I think you’re both right. I am off base on the Kendricks suggestion. I think I was just so used to the disaster that was Rick Lewis that I thought anything would look good. I do not think he’d work out at all for the Rainmen. I’ll admit being wrong on this one.

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