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Guelph Nighthawks tap Toronto Raptors franchise for new head coach, GM

Charles Kissi has been named head coach and general manager of the Guelph Nighthawks.
Charles Kissi has been named head coach and general manager of the Guelph Nighthawks. Charles Kissi / Twitter

The Guelph Nighthawks have named a member of the 2019 NBA champion Toronto Raptors franchise as their new head coach and general manager.

Charles Kissi joins the Canadian Elite Basketball League team from the Raptors’ G League affiliate, the Raptors 905, where he is the first assistant to head coach Jama Mahlalela.

READ MORE: Guelph Nighthawks lose 3rd straight game

“Coach Kissi is a proven winner at every level he has coached,” Nighthawks president Cameron Kusch said.

This past year, Kissi helped guide the Raptors 905 to a 29-21 regular season following five seasons with the Brock University men’s basketball program that featured a berth in the U Sports Final 8 national tournament.

Kissi also spent time with the Ryerson Rams’ women’s basketball program.

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“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,” Kusch said.

Kissi takes over a Nighthawks team that is in second-to-last place in the CEBL and replaces Tarry Upshaw, who was fired from the position earlier this month.

Kusch noted that Kissi is still under contract with the Raptors 905.

“For the next eight games, we want to compete hard and play together. It starts there,” Kissi said in a statement.

“We are setting our sights on the playoffs, which is an attainable goal for this team.”

Kissi will start on Wednesday following obligations to the Toronto Raptors at the NBA Summer League.

READ MORE: Guelph Nighthawks drop first game after coaching change

Interim head coach and general manager Juan Nunez will return to his role as the team’s assistant coach.

The Nighthawks travel to Edmonton to play the Stingers on Thursday night.