Nighthawks grab Charles Kissi to be head coach and GM
GUELPH – The Guelph Nighthawks named Charles Kissi their head coach and general manager Monday.
He replaces Tarry Upshaw who was let go by the Canadian Elite Basketball League team on Canada Day.
The Nighthawks were 3-7 at the midway point of the league’s inaugural season when they parted ways with Upshaw. They lost two games with assistant coach Juan Nunez in charge.
Kissi joins the Nighthawks from the Toronto Raptors 905 squad, the NBA champions’ G-League affiliate, where he had been the first assistant to head coach Jamal Mahlalela.
“Coach Kissi is a proven winner at every level he has coached,” Nighthawks president Cameron Kusch said in a news release. “Charles transformed the Brock University men’s basketball program to a perennial powerhouse in the OUA, has been a prominent mentor to the development of players on both the Toronto Raptors and Raptors 905, is a dedicated coach on and off the court and brings experience with a number of players on the current Nighthawks roster.
“Our core values align with Kissi’s vision for Nighthawks basketball. He is a coach that will demand accountability and professionalism but in a structured environment that will allow our players to thrive. I’m truly excited to have someone of Coach Kissi’s experience lead our club forward.”
Kissi takes over a team that is a three-game losing streak and has eight games remaining on its regular-season schedule. He’ll also remain with Raptors 905.
“I am extremely grateful to the Raptors organization for allowing me to take advantage of this great professional development opportunity,” he said in the news release. “For the next eight games we want to compete hard and play together. It starts there.”
The Nighthawks are tied for fifth with the Fraser Valley Bandits in the six-team league. Both have 3-9 records and are the only teams in the league with losing records.
Top four qualify for the playoffs. Niagara River Lions lead at 10-3 and are followed by the Edmonton Stingers (8-4), Hamilton Honey Badgers (7-6) and Saskatchewan Rattlers (6-6).
“We are setting our sights on the playoffs, which is an attainable goal for this team,” Kissi said. “I’m excited about the challenge ahead and to start working with our group of players and coaches.”
The Nighthawks and Stingers are to play in Edmonton Thursday night and battle Saskatchewan at Saskatoon July 18. Kissi’s first home game with the Nighthawks is to be July 20 in another game with Edmonton.
- Guelph Sports Journal