Canada Basketball has dipped into its past to help forge its future.
Jay Triano, former national team player and coach, was formally introduced as the new head coach of Canada's senior men's team on Thursday.
"He qualified [as a player] in three Olympics, coached in one, coached in the NBA," said Steve Nash, the general manager of the men's program, not to mention the new point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers.
"So to be able to call one of our own and have a resume and qualifications that he has is pretty special."
Nash was on hand for the news conference when the announcement of Triano's appointment was made at the Air Canada Centre.
Triano said the goal is obvious.
"With the dedication of Steve and the staff that we've brought in, I'm really looking forward to helping develop those players...so Canada just doesn't get to the Olympics once in a while, it becomes something that is consistent and something that is expected from Canadians," Triano said.
The men’s national team has been without a coach since last September when Leo Rautins stepped down after Canada failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London during a tournament in Argentina.
Triano, 53, was the coach that Rautins replaced when Triano was stripped by his duties by Canada Basketball in 2005.
The first Canadian-born NBA head coach when he was selected to lead the Toronto Raptors in 2008, Triano lasted in that position for two full seasons before the Raptors decided against picking up the third year of his contract.
Triano spent last season as the team’s vice-president of professional scouting up until last week when he accepted an assistant’s position with the Portland Trail Blazers on the coaching staff of Terry Stotts.
It was with Triano as coach that the Canadian team last qualified for the Olympics, back in 2000 in Sydney when Nash starred for the national team.
After Nash was brought back into the national team fold in May when he was named the general manager of the program, it was viewed as just a matter of time before Triano followed suit.
Nash and Triano have a close working relationship and the executive of Canada Basketball are hoping the tandem will be able to revive a program that has stagnated in recent years.
Triano’s staff will include a couple of Canadian Interuniversity Sports coaches in Dave Smart of the Carleton Ravens and Greg Francis, a former national team member who heads the men’s program at the University of Waterloo.
Kelvin Sampson, an assistant with the NBA’s Houston Rockets, was also named as an assistant.
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