Jay Triano discusses the role of sports coaches in Canada from a unique perspective, having risen through the domestic ranks to get one of only 30 jobs available on earth.
And when it comes to defending the role of those coaches – in any sport at any level in the country – the head coach of the Raptors
accepts the responsibility with ease.
"There's an awful lot of people who put in an awful lot of time preparing soccer teams and stuff like that ... they do it for the love of the sport and the development of children," Triano said yesterday. "That's why I got involved in this, it's a no-brainer."
This is a program initiated by Campbell's Soup, along with the Coaching Association of Canada and TSN, to recognize the nearly two million coaches of various sports at various levels across the country. Coaches can be nominated at Campbell's Chunky MVC - Home
, with the winner getting a $25,000 prize for his or her athletes and community.
"While I'm head coach of the Raptors
and the only Canadian doing it, if I can help promote the cause of coaches in this country, I'm going to do it," he said. "I think it gets in you. We've all coached somebody somehow and you have an impact on somebody."
Triano grew up playing minor sports in Niagara Falls, Ont., with a variety of volunteer coaches, moved to Simon Fraser University and played under the iconic Jack Donohue with Canada's national program. Triano coached at Simon Fraser, ran the national team and was an NBA assistant for seven years before getting the head coaching job in Toronto. He's played for and worked with a variety of men but had steadfastly supported Canadian coaches – particularly in basketball – for years.
"I don't mean to put anybody down, but Gene Keady was here (with the Raptors) for a year; I don't think Gene knows any more Xs and Os than Mike Katz from the University of Toronto or how to teach it any better and he's a hall of fame coach," said Triano. "The perception is, because he does it with better athletes and under a bigger spotlight, that he is a better coach and I don't think that's the case.
"We have great coaches in this country; I don't think we have the resources for them or the athletes to compete at the same level."